Friday, October 7, 2011

san miguel chapel santa fe new mexico

San Miguel Mission Church
Recognized as “the Oldest Church in the United States,” San Miguel Mission (pictured right) is located one block south of Loretto Chapel on Old Santa Fe Trail, between Alameda and Paseo de Peralta. Within easy walking distance from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, it is now surrounded by lovely restaurants and shops, and with the “Oldest House” right down the alley, it’s definitely a must see on any Santa Fe site list.

The Mission was built by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico in the early 1600s, under the direction of Fray Alonso de Benavides, OFM. During the Pueblo Indian rebellion of 1680, the roof was burned and destroyed. After resettling Santa Fe, in 1694 General Diego de Vargas had a new roof constructed and repairs continued until 1710.

A three-tier tower was constructed around 1830, and in 1887, a single facade tower was built, with massive stone buttresses added for support. The reredos (or altar screen) in the Mission dates from 1798 and is the oldest wooden reredos in New Mexico. There is also a wood carved statue of St. Michael, celebrating the victory over Satan.

The Mission is open to the public during the week and there is a small gift shop adjoining the main church. Regular services are held each Sunday.

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san miguel chapel santa fe new mexico in night

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