Walk up Santa Fe Trail from the downtown and Visitor's Center area of Santa Fe and you will be taken back in time. Be sure and see the oldest church and oldest house of Santa Fe. While these may be reconstructed, they represent the rich heritage and history of this 400 year old city.
The Chapel of San Miguel is the oldest church in Santa Fe. You will find the adobe church at Old Santa Fe Trail and De Vargas streets, about two blocks from the state capitol. The church was originally built in 1626, although nothing of that building remains. The Pueblo Revolt began, it is said, with the burning of San Miguel.
Inside you will see a beautiful carved altar screen. Some believe the screen to be among the most beautiful in the Southwest. It was painted by a local Santero known only as the Laguna Santero. Among the paintings are Saint Terisa of Avila (top left), Saint Michael (top center), and Saint Gertrude the Great (top right). In the middle tier are images of Jesus Nazareno (center), Saint Francis (left) and Saint Louis IX, King of France (right)
The chapel's sculpture of San Miguel, the church's patron, was carved in Mexico in 1709. In 1710, the chapel was completely rebuilt. Later, in 1859, Archbishop Lamy and the Christian Brothers of Santa Fe bought the chapel, and it became a part of Saint Michael's College.
If you get a chance, take in a musical performance or service at the church. One Christmas season a Flamenco music performance was given in the church and it added tremendously to the atmosphere of history and beauty.
Churches of New Mexico Series