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Mexico City is the world's top religious tourist destination

January 22, 2009 |  6:54 am


Mexico City finished first in a list of the world's most visited religious tourism destinations, ahead of the Vatican and Lourdes in France, reports Milenio.

A study carried out by the Spanish Office of Tourism found that Mexico's capital is the preferred destination of tourists seeking religious sites, largely because of its Basilica de Guadalupe, which receives millions of pilgrims each year.

The site of the basilica marks the spot where, according to Catholic tradition, the Virgin de Guadalupe -- Mexico's most revered saint -- appeared to indigenous farmer Juan Diego in 1531. Every year, millions of pilgrims make their way to the shrine -- arriving in their biggest numbers around Dec. 12, the Dia de la Virgin. See La Plaza's video report on last year's pilgrims here.


Second place on the list of top religious destinations was claimed by Lourdes.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo, top: One of the basilicas on the site where the Virgin de Guadalupe -- Mexico's most revered saint -- is believed to have appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times.

Photo, bottom: Millions of pilgrims descend on the Basilica de Guadalupe each year, many of them carrying statues of the Virgin or walking with heavy pictures of the icon tied to their backs. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times. See more photos here on Flickr.