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Fodor's See It Mexico, 3rd Edition
Basilica de Ocotlán
Basilica de Ocotlán Review
On a hill about 1 km (½ mi) northwest of the center of Tlaxcala stands the ornate Basilica de Ocotlán. You can see its churrigueresque facade, topped with twin towers adorned with the apostles, from just about everywhere in the city. The church is most notable as a pilgrimage site. In 1541 the Virgin Mary appeared to a poor peasant, telling him to cure an epidemic with water from a stream that had suddenly appeared. Franciscan monks, eager to find the source of the miracle, ventured into the forest. There they discovered raging flames that didn't harm one particular pine (ocotlán). When they split the tree open, they discovered the wooden image of the Virgen de Ocotlán, which they installed in a gilded altar. Many miracles have been attributed to the statue, which wears the braids popular for indigenous women at the time. Behind the altar is the brilliantly painted Camarín de la Virgen (Dressing Room of the Virgin) that tells the story. At the base of the hill is the appealing Capilla del Pocito de Agua Santa, an octagonal chapel decorated with images of the Virgen de Ocotlán. The faithful come to draw holy water from its seven fountains.
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