Trip Planner: Central America / Guatemala / Chiquimula Department / Esquipulas / Basilica de Esquipulas
The Basilica of Esquipulas or Cathedral Basilica of the Black Christ of Esquipulas is a Baroque church in the city of Esquipulas, Guatemala, named after the image of the Black Christ of Esquipulas which it houses. It is the largest Roman Catholic church in Central America and southern Mexico and the only one in America with four bell-towers. It has the status of cathedral, minor basilica and Catholic sanctuary.Before you head to Esquipulas, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Esquipulas online tour planner, to make sure you see all that Esquipulas has to offer, including Basilica de Esquipulas.
It is visited by about 4.5 million pilgrims annually, including 1.5 million in the days leading up to its patronal festival on 15 January and the festival on 9 March which marks the date of the image's arrival in the city in 1595. The image was initially placed in a chapel before being transferred to the parish church after the latter's completion at the end of the 17th century. Its present home was completed in 1758 and the image processed to it in 6 January 1759. On a visit in 1840, the anthropologist John Lloyd Stephens described the church as the town's "only object of interest".
The church was promoted to cathedral status by pope Pius XII in 1956 as the seat of the new Territorial Prelature of Santo Cristo de Esquípulas, whose first prelate Mariano Rossell y Arellano (the senior archbishop of Guatemala) sought to set up a Benedictine monastery attached to the cathedral to care for it - this was founded in 1959 by three monks sent from San José Abbey in Louisiana. He also successfully petitioned pope John XXIII to promote the church to minor basilica status in 1961. It was visited on 6 February 1996 by Pope John Paul II during his second Apostolic Visit to Guatemala to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of the veneration of the Black Christ.
Basilica de Esquipulas reviews
This is a good place for locals but is not an option for tourists or business persons because does't have anything special. more »
This very large and impressive basilica dominates the town. Famous for housing the ‘black Christ’ it is very popular at the weekends. Very evident by the ‘snaking paths’ to keep everyone in line. To..... more »
A place to feel blessed. There was a long line to view The Black Christ, however, after 1:30PM the line becomes shorter. Can't describe the feeling, it's a Holy sensation.
It's been 25 years since my last visit to the Basílica de nuestro Señor de Esquipulas and it's still amazing. It has changed a lot since my last visit and thank God the administration has taken care of the temple. I encourage locals and tourists to visit and visit our Lord for all the visitors.
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21 days in Guatemala, Placencia & Punta Gorda BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA April, popular sights Preferences: April Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 48 days in Esquipulas BY A USER FROM GUATEMALA June, popular sights Preferences: June Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 16 days in Guatemala BY A USER FROM GERMANY November, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems Preferences: November, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Medium 29 days in Central America & Mexico BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, extra slow, hidden gems Preferences: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Extra slow 9 days in Guatemala BY A USER FROM SLOVENIA August, beaches, hidden gems Preferences: August, beaches Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Medium 55 days in Guatemala, Honduras & Mexico BY A USER FROM ISRAEL September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems Preferences: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Fast-paced