Espanola, New Mexico The Jewel of Northern New Mexico. Espanola was founded in 1598 by Spain as the first capital of New Mexico. It sits in the northern Rio Grande Valley between the Jemez Mountains and Truchas Peaks, and is a very convenient base for exploring northern New Mexico.  Espanola has many lodging options and the best selection of restaurants. Don't miss the world-class local artists.  Let us be your tour guide through the Beautiful Espanola Valley.



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Chimayo, New Mexico

Santuario de Chimayo

Each year, tens of thousands of visitors come to the this historic Santuario, or chapel, in the village of Chimayo a few miles east of Espanola. The historic chapel is known as the “Lourdes of America,” since it is believed by many people to have healing powers. For generations, the surrounding grasslands and low rolling hills were used as portrero, or pasture.

The Dust That Heals - "The Lourdes of America"

A brief history of Chimayó

Shortly after the Pueblo Revolt,1680-1692, several groups of Spanish colonists settled in the northwestern section of the fertile Chimayó Valley. The colonists were hard working, independent farmers and artisans whose occupations included weaving, day labor and stock raising. They came to the area in hopes of receiving the title hidalgo (nobleman) if they stayed. Frequently they were granted land, building lots, subsidies and farming implements for their new life of hardship on the frontier.

The Plaza of San Burenaventura, now called the Plaza del Cerro was built around 1740. It is the last surviving Spanish fortified plaza in the southwest. It consists of a square of contiguous adobe buildings with only two entrances. A torreon, or defensive watch tower, stands on the south side, while a small chapel sits on the western side. The acequia madre, or main irrigation ditch, the heartbeat of every northern New Mexico rural area, runs through the plaza.

Somewhere around 1810, a Chimayó friar was performing penances when he saw a light bursting from a hillside. Digging, he found a crucifix, quickly dubbed the miraculous crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas. A local priest brought the crucifix to Santa Cruz, but three times it disappeared and was later found back in its hole. By the third time, everyone understood that El Senor de Esquipulas wanted to remain in Chimayó, and so a small chapel was built on the site. Then the miraculous healings began. These grew so numerous that the chapel had to be replaced by the larger, current Chimayó Shrine -- an adobe mission -- in 1816.

Believed to be built on sacred earth with miraculous healing powers, the legendary shrine El Santuario de Chimayó, is probably the most visited church in New Mexico. The crucifix which began the original shrine still resides on the chapel alter, but for some reason its curative powers have been overshadowed by El Posito, the "sacred sand pit" from which it sprang. Each year during Holy Week thousands of people make a pilgrimage to Chimayó to visit the Santuario and take away a bit of the sacred dirt. Pilgrims walk a few yards or a hundred miles. Many claim to have been cured there of diseases, infirmities and unhappiness. The walls of the sacristy are hung with discarded crutches and before-and-after photographs as evidence of the healing.

Weaving has always been important at Chimayó and in around 1900 commercial looms and yarns began to be used by the local weavers. The Chimayó area is known today for high-quality woven goods.

The Shrine of Our Lord of Esquipulas

El Santuario De Nuestro Senor De Esquipulas [in/near Chimayo, NM], at the southeast end of town. Legend maintains that a farmer, instructed by a vision to dig beneath his plow for earth endowed with healing powers, uncovered a cross and piece of cloth belonging to two priests martyred on the spot. The farmer placed the cross within a crude adobe chapel he built in 1816. Many pilgrims come to partake of the supposedly curative earth found in a pit inside the chapel, which is lined with cast-off crutches and braces. Daily 9-5. Free. 

Located at the South-East end of Chimayo.
For information call: (505) 351-4889

A strange view of El Santuario
Not everyone view Chimayo the same way, in fact some view are out of this world!