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.
The study said Mexico City is the no. 1 religious destination and the Basilica de Guadalupe is the no. 1 religious destination within Mexico City. It's possible Lourdes gets more visitors than the Basilica de Guadalupe even if Mexico City gets more visitors than Lourdes.
For more on Juan Diego, see "True Portrait" of Juan Diego Has a Full Beard, Light Skin and Church Historians Don't Believe God Chose Juan Diego.
Below: "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.