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 iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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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, and the food scene is no exception. For centuries, food and drink have been an inseparable part of the city's culture manifested in notable markets and eateries, and some truly amazing recipes making up what we call the Mexican cuisine. This self-guided tour allows you to explore some of the top food-related...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

Mesoamerican civilizations established open-air marketplaces for trade and commerce, and after the Spanish conquest, many important pre-Colombian markets continued to operate throughout the New World. Often atmospheric and interesting, neighborhood markets are hands down the best places to shop for fruits and vegetables, but also for crafts, antiques, paintings, art objects, jewelry, and more....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Chapultepec Park Walking Tour

Chapultepec Park Walking Tour

Chapultepec Park is one of the most famous parks in Mexico City. It is located on the Chapultepec Hill, that has a major historic importance for Mexicans. This park features some of the best known tourist attractions in Mexico city, like the Chapultepec Castle and National Museum of Anthropology. Take this self guided walking tour to explore Chapultepec Park.

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

Museums Walking Tour

Mexico City is one of the most dazzling cultural sites in the world, boosting many fascinating museums in the city. Mexico City also has a rich history of artistic expressions. It was home to the Aztec civilization and the Spanish Empire both of which have left behind an impressive heritage and a unique culture. Take this self guided walk to explore the rich culture heritage that Mexico City has...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Famous Religious Edifices Walking Tour

Famous Religious Edifices Walking Tour

After Hernán Cortés conquered the city of Tenochtitlán in the early 16th century, the Spanish razed the Mexica temples and built Catholic churches atop their remains. Coming from a deeply religious atmosphere in Spain, colonial missionaries were active throughout the land, establishing an abundance of Catholic churches, schools, and hospitals. Every religious building in this city is now a part...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Coyoacan District Walking Tour

Coyoacan District Walking Tour

Coyoacán, or “The Land of Coyotes” in Nahuatle, is a relatively quiet neighborhood in the heart of Mexico City, one of its 16 boroughs. Formerly a rural village, over the years Coyoacán has become a rich pocket of art and history in the Mexican capital. Iconic figures like Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, great artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera sought refuge and inspiration in this...  view more

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

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