San Miguel Chapel
Standing proudly as the oldest church in the continental United States, San Miguel Chapel is a must-visit while in the Santa Fe area with your group.
This Spanish Colonial mission church is simply called 'The Oldest Church' to locals, with the belief that the church was built around 1610. It is believed that it was founded by a small group of Mexican Indians from Tlaxcala, built under the direction of Franciscan friars within the Barrio de Analco Historic District. Rumor has it that the original building, called Hermita de San Miguel, was built over an ancient kiva, or sacred place. It was built to serve local Native Americans, soldiers, and laborers.
The church has been rebuilt and revamped several times over the last 400 years, the building you see today dating back to 1710. The original structure was partially destroyed during the infamous Pueblo Revolt of 1680. You can come inside the church with your group and admire the architecture, history, and artwork from the inside, that is, of course, outside of regular mass times (Latin and English masses daily).
We have no doubt you will be stunned by the wooden altar screen inside, or reredos, which holds some of the oldest and finest examples of religious art in the U.S. See the paintings around the reredos, then admire the 14 stations of the cross along the chapel walls, completed in 1956 by Romon Rochas.