Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas

This historic and important Catholic pilgrimage center is commonly known as El Santuario de Chimayó.  It was built in 1816 by a private individual.  Bought by preservationists, it was eventually handed over to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1929.  The chapel is now managed by the Archdiocese as a Catholic church.  It is believed by many to have 'holy dirt' from a back room that heals physical and spiritual ills.  The site attracts up to 300,000 visitors a year. 

My first trip to the Sanctuario was long ago and many, many, changes have been made in recent years.  Yet, sadly, the sanctuary itself remains in very poor condition.  New structures have been added to the site and since my last visit a whole new open room has been added at the back of the sanctuary.  The first image is of the front of the Sanctuario, taken on my last visit.  I did not take any photos of the front this time as the ever evident yellow caution tape is now everywhere as they attempt to shore up a rapidly decaying structure.  No photos are allowed inside the building and a Mass was in progress.

New Welcome Center.  Photos only allowed on the outside.

Sanctuary, courtyard and Visitor Center

Statue in new open porch.  Photos of loved ones are left on the walls with requests for prayers.

Several places such as this one are found throughout the site.  The gift shop sells candles and many other religious items that can be placed in these sites.

Crosses, flowers and rosaries are woven into the fence along the walkway from the parking lot.  Personal items such as these are found everywhere, left behind by pilgrims in loving memory or in hopes that their prayers for healing may be answered.

Flowers refresh the look of an old wall.

Separate from the older Sanctuary is a newer one dedicated to children.  It is more like a chapel and photography is allowed (but not in the dedicated gift shop).  Everything in this place is placed with children in mind.  Even the Stations of the Cross are toned down to be more loving and less violent and scary.


On the way out I noticed yet another new statue.  This one commemorates the three cultures that so struggled in New Mexico.  Ultimately, the culture that sacrificed the most in the settlement by Spaniards and the arrival of Catholic priests, was that of the Native Americans.  The history of New Mexico is both fascinating and provoking.  Nuff said!

Lunch beckons at our favorite restaurant in the area.  Highly recommended if you ever travel to Chimayo.  Famous enough to have its own state road sign!

After lunch . . . oh so good . . . we headed to Alamosa, checked into our motel and then scurried to Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The wind was horrific!!  The blowing sand stung.  We stayed around until the sunset was over and then headed into Alamosa for dinner. Today we head towards Denver.  We were going to go back to the dunes, but . . . wouldn't you know . . . we are socked in with fog!!  Photos of dunes up next.