Regardless of your religious beliefs, many churches have awe-inspiring architecture that anyone can appreciate. New Mexico is brimming with impressive houses of worship, some large and well known, others almost forgotten over time. Here are a few of the state’s most beautiful churches.
1. Basilica of San Albino, Mesilla
Although the current Romanesque building was constructed in 1906, its bells date back to the 1870s and 1880s.
2. San Geronimo at Taos Pueblo, Taos
The sight of the San Geronimo church against the backdrop of one of Taos’s azure skies is absolutely stunning. You can even spot the straw used to strengthen the adobe bricks, woven through the walls.
3. San Felipe de Neri, Albuquerque
The current building is the second church to stand on this site. The “new” structure, which was constructed in 1793, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has five-foot thick adobe walls.
4. Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe
Colonists transported “Our Lady of the Rosary” or “La Conquistadora” to Santa Fe in 1625. This makes the statue the oldest one of the Virgin Mary in the United States. It is housed in the city’s basilica, which was completed in 1887. Well, except for the spires. They were never added due to lack of funds.
5. San Miguel Chapel, Sant Fe
The San Miguel Chapel has the honor of being the oldest church in the continental United States. Records that far back are sketchy, but it was definitely built before 1628, mostly likely in 1610.
6. San Miguel Mission, Socorro
The main part of the San Miguel Mission dates back to between 1615 and 1626, the timeframe during which the original part of the church was built. During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the church’s precious items, including a solid silver communion rail, were buried for safekeeping. Despite numerous attempts to locate this missing treasure since, no one has found it.
7. Cristo Rey Church, Near Montezuma
This tiny church, off Route 65, is covered in vibrant murals.
8. San Ysidro Church, Corrales
This church, from 1868, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
9. Sacred Heart Church, Quemado
Some of New Mexico’s prettiest churches are those you stumble upon by accident, like this one in teeny Quemado.
10. San José de Gracia Church, Las Trampas
Or this one, with such ornate woodwork that drivers along the High Road to Taos feel compelled to pull over.
11. Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe
Other New Mexican churches, like the Loretto Chapel, have a much higher profile. Although it’s renowned for its miraculous staircase, the whole building is impressive. The chapel is Gothic—unusual around here—and was inspired by the design of Sainte Chapelle in Paris.
12. El Sancturio de Chimayó, Chimayó
El Sancturio de Chimayó is similar to Lourdes because people believe that it is a place of miracles and healing. Here, it is holy dirt, not water, that believers collect.
Judging by the number of discarded crutches, there really might be something special about this place.
13. Santa Niño Chapel, Chimayó
Nearby, this small chapel is devoted to children.
14. St Joseph’s on the Rio Grande, Albuquerque
While St. Joseph’s is a newer parish, with a briefer history than many New Mexican churches, this picture is too, ahem, striking to leave out!
Which of these churches have you visited? What’s your favorite house of worship in New Mexico?