Photo courtesy Wikipedia
The Sanctuary of Atotonilco ( atoto-nilko) is a World Heritage Site. The main feature of the complex is the rich Mexican Baroque mural work that adorns the main nave and chapels. The mural work has led the complex to be dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico.
It also figured in the War Of Independence. It was here at the beginning of the uprising that a banner of The Virgin of Guadalupe was taken and used as the flag of the revolutionaries.
Atotonilco means Place of the Hot Waters and there are many hot springs around this whole region. The church was begun in 1740 and some eight years later local Indian artists Miguel Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre and Rodriguez Juárez began painting the murals over a period of 30 years in Mexican Baroque style.
Pilgrims still come from central Mexico and self-flagellate with corn whips. From 1880 to the present times as many as 100,000 people a year have made pilgrimages to the shrine. Every year there is a religious procession from here to San Miguel eight miles away which starts at night and arrives at dawn.
Above-The entrance looking up.
Above- The main altar. Below A side chapel
At one point the Sanctuary suffered from deterioration, mostly due to high humidity. This humidity came from the thermal springs that flow under the ground on which the complex rests, and which also have a high mineral content. The moisture and minerals were seeping into the walls and foundations, causing them to crumble and were causing damage to the murals, oil paintings and sculptures. Restoration work began in 1994. Further restoration work was undertaken in 2010 as part of the preparations for Mexico’s Bicentennial. The walls and roofs were aired out and old wells were cleaned out to allow drainage away from the foundation. Channels were constructed in the foundation for the same purpose.