Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, Mexico City

Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, Mexico City

Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, aka Iglesia de San Juan Bautista or Iglesia de Coyoacán, is a 16th century Catholic church and former mission dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, presiding over the south side of Plaza Hidalgo. To build this church, eight years after the conquest was completed, Hernán Cortés granted to a group of friars of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans, a vast plot of land which he, in turn, had received from the native Ixtolinque chief baptized into the Catholic faith under the name of Juan de Guzmán.

Going in fits and starts between 1522 and 1552, the construction took place on the site of a calmecac, a school for the sons of Aztec nobility, whose ruins still remain beneath the cloister. In the course of over four centuries since, the original basilica has been remodeled several times, including in 1804 and from 1926 to 1947. In front of the church entrance is a cobblestone square that originally extended into what is now Plaza Centenario. A four-story bell tower, added in the 18th century, stands to the west of the main church and was once topped by a dome, lantern and cross. Sadly, the dome collapsed during an earthquake in September 2017.

The relatively plain facade of the church features the Herrerian style, named so after the Spanish architect and mathematician Juan de Herrera, and is almost entirely devoid of ornamentation. An inscription in Latin above the door translates to, “There is none other but a house of God, and this a gate of the heavens.”

Contrary to the plain exterior, the interior is quite exuberant in Baroque style, with gorgeous archways and illusion-inducing ceiling frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and the saints of the Franciscan order. A single nave flanked by seven small chapels culminates in the magnificent Chapel of the Rosary, with its lavishly decorated high altar embellished with the glow of gold leaf and the Dominican order's coat of arms bas-relief featuring fleur-de-lis cross whose petals symbolize the 12 apostles.

In 1934, the church was declared a national historic monument, and in the 1980s became the site of an alleged Apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. If you can’t go to a city without exploring a few churches, the Parroquia San Juan Bautista will surely not disappoint!

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Mexico City. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Parroquia de San Juan Bautista on Map

Sight Name: Parroquia de San Juan Bautista
Sight Location: Mexico City, Mexico (See walking tours in Mexico City)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Mexico City, Mexico

Create Your Own Walk in Mexico City

Create Your Own Walk in Mexico City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Mexico City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historic Center Food Tour

Historic Center Food Tour

A combination of history and tradition in Mexico City permeates all aspects of life, including food. For centuries, food and drink have been an inseparable part of the city's culture. Within Mexico City's bustling historic center, you can find a variety of culinary gems that offer a taste of what we call diverse Mexican cuisine.

One of the must-visit spots here is the San Juan Market....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Zona Rosa Walking Tour

Zona Rosa Walking Tour

Zona Rosa, or "Pink Zone" in English, is a vibrant neighborhood near the historic center of the Mexican capital which is known for its lively atmosphere and diverse cultural scene. The neighborhood's name comes from the pink-colored tiles abundantly used to pave the local streets.

The area rose to prominence in the early 20th century as a residential district for the wealthy...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Coyoacan District Walking Tour

Coyoacan District Walking Tour

Translated from the Nahuatle language as “The Land of Coyotes”, Coyoacán is a relatively quiet neighborhood in the southern part of Mexico City. Formerly a rural village, over the years Coyoacán has become a rich pocket of art and history in the capital, closely associated with some iconic figures of the 20th century and the tumultuous times in which they lived.

One of its most famous...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Historic Center Walking Tour

Historic Center Walking Tour

Mexico City is the oldest capital in the Americas and is one of the two founded by indigenous people. Originally known as Mexico Tenochtitlan, the city was built by the Mexicas (aka Aztecs) in 1325. According to a legend, the Mexicas' principal god, Huitzilopochtli, pointed out the site of the future settlement with an image of a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, devouring a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Chapultepec Park Walking Tour

Chapultepec Park Walking Tour

Nicknamed "the Lungs of Mexico City", Chapultepec Park is a vast oasis of lush greenery in the heart of the Mexican capital, sprawling over 686 hectares of land, providing a vital source of oxygen for the city. Rich in natural beauty, historical landmarks, and vibrant atmosphere, throughout centuries, this park has inspired various works of literature, poetry, and visual art, further...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Souvenir Shopping Guide: 17 Must-Buy Local Products from Mexico City

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 17 Must-Buy Local Products from Mexico City

Both historic and modern day Mexico's are worth each other in terms of cultural and artistic heritage. The country's capital Mexico City is a showroom of what the label "Made in Mexico" stands for in its entirety. Whether it's authentic food, drink or piece of craftsmanship...
10 Must-Try Mexican Foods in Mexico City

10 Must-Try Mexican Foods in Mexico City

While Mexico is a treasure trove in terms of cultural and artistic heritage (ancient history, architecture, etc.), the vast majority of visitors to the country are lured mainly by, let's face it, bodily pleasures. The latter are manifested in the form of sandy beaches, sun and, most...