The oldest church in continuous use in the US, Mission San Miguel has been used for Christian worship since 1610. Its thick adobe walls and stately bell tower are iconic images for Southwestern Catholics.
Built on the site of two earlier churches, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is one of the historical cathedrals that sprang up in the footsteps of European expansion into the Southwest. Constructed by French and Italian masons and completed in 1887, this cathedral also features an old adobe chapel built in 1714. Its beautiful stained-glass windows were transported to Santa Fe by ship and covered wagon.
Built in 1878, legend states the Sisters of the Chapel prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, and a man appeared who insisted upon building a circular staircase and refused any payment. When he had completed the staircase, he left and was never seen again. The staircase remains as his masterful and intriguing legacy, designed with no visible means of support despite its two complete 360-degree turns.
About 30 minutes North of Santa Fe lies the historical village community of Chimayó, New Mexico. Known as "the Lourdes of North America," the Santuario de Chimayó is one of the most sacred pilgrimage places on the continent. Each year, thousands make pilgrimage to the Santuario with prayers to remove their suffering. The tiny shrine, devoted to the legendary, miraculous return of a crucifix found by Bernardo de Abeyta in the early 1800s, features a small pit of sacred soil to which many ascribe curative powers.