AAA Editor Notes
Sanctuary of the Virgin of Ocotlán (Santuario de la Virgen de Ocotlán) sits atop a high hill about a mile e. of Tlaxcala's town center, in the small hamlet of Ocotlán. It commemorates the supposed appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Indian Juan Diego Bernardino at this site in 1541. The church is surrounded by a large plaza, with a quiet, shady park across the street. The exterior is quite interesting: an intricately detailed front facade of white stucco, dominated by a large, fluted shell-like design and twin towers made from local cantera stone.
The interior is an explosion of gilded, carved wood ornamentation, with a large altar and several side sconces with life-size statues of saints. The octagonal Dressing Room (Camarín), a chamber where the Virgin's robes were said to be changed, is graced with more carvings of saints and angels. Life's hard realities are underscored by signs on the church's entry door that advertise low-cost services for the poor.
You can hike to the sanctuary from town or take an inexpensive colectivo (minivan) designated “Ocotlán”; the driver will stop at the front steps and wait while you visit.