< Go Back

San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

The proposed Temple to San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin will eventually honor Saint Juan Diego. Today, it remains but a ruin though one with a curious history. Most depictions of the Virgin of Guadalupe portray Juan Diego as the humble man in the lower corner of the painting. He witnessed the legendary apparitions which sparked devotion to the Virgin here, and around the world.

Pope John Paul II blessed the site of the proposed sanctuary and temple in 2002. The blessing took place on the day after the canonization.

  • Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, (1474–1548) was born to the north of the present site in present day Cuautitlán, northwest of Mexico City. Translators point out that the surname means “he who speaks like an eagle,” or “speaking eagle,” reflecting Juan Diego’s role as a messenger.  The four Marian apparitions took place in December of 1531. Multiple contemporary accounts make note of Juan Diego’s story, among them the Huei tlamahuiçoltica of 1649. Juan Diego is the first indigenous Catholic saint from the Americas.

Lindavista in the Golden Age of Cinema

Just a half-kilometer west of the main Basilica de Guadalupe, the site was developed in 1942 as a movie theater, the Cine Lindavista. The architect was Charles Lee. Lee studied architecture in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in 1922. There he designed many of the most spectacular cinemas and movie houses in and around Hollywood. Some of these remain historic sites today and all recall the height of the Golden Age of Cinema of the mid-20th century.

The broader Lindavista saw a similar boom in cinema design even as it’s first neighborhoods were being built at the same time. Many of the homes in the surrounding neighborhoods betray the influence of California Colonial and Neo-Baroque styles. Lee’s design here included the two circular ticket booths topped with domes in red and yellow mosaic. The original façade still provides a cover for the main nave of the old theater. The overall site lies largely in ruin.

The Futurama Cultural Center, in the very heart of Lindavista, is another example of an old movie theater re-conditioned and retrofitted for today’s different purposes. Whether or not the project to convert the old Cine Lindavista into a temple remains a question. At this writing, the planned Temple to San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin is but a ruin, albeit among the most evocative of ruins.

Benjamin Arredondo, Bable, 6 Mayo 2015: Templo de San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin en la ciudad de México

Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México – Coordinación Nacional de Monumentos Históricos. Ficha del Catálogo Nacional de Monumentos Históricos Inmuebles número I-09-01495 . -. Disponible en:

How to get here
  • Av. Montevideo 96, Col. Tepeyac Insurgentes, Alc. Gustavo A. Madero, 07300 CDMX


Metro Deportivo 18 de Marzo

Nearest at 0.32 kms.

Calvary Chapel, La Villa

Nearest at 0.40 kms.

Wax Figures Museum, La Villa

Nearest at 0.47 kms.


Mercado de Comidas Maria Esther Zuno

A fantastic place for eating just outside the basilica . . .

Nuestra Señora de la Luz

A very old church calls to mind the long history of the Villa Guadalupe Hidalgo . . .

Mercado Villa Comidas

A fantastic place for lunch just outside La Villa . . .

Calzada de Guadalupe

A fine pilgrimage route makes the perfect promenade for strolling, too . . .

Practical guide and services