The Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel

Downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Loretto (Our Lady of Light) Chapel was a Catholic chapel from it’s creation in 1878 until it was sold to private buyers in 1971. It’s now a museum that cost a few dollars to enter and is available for weddings.

It’s Gothic style was designed after King Louis IX’s Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France. The architecture is very different and contrasting from much of Santa Fe’s adobe buildings and culture surrounding it, but is similar to the Saint Francis Cathedral a few blocks away.

Loretto Chapel Roof

This chapel’s exterior isn’t its only beauty, the interior is filled with interesting decor and renovations. Pictured below is the outstanding Gothic altar.

Loretto Gothic Altar

Also featuring a number of sculpted “Stations of the Cross” that were very detailed. Picture shown below is cropped, click on it for full size and more detail.

Stations of the Cross

Like a lot of churches Loretto also had many spectacularly detailed stained glass windows, which I’ve always found fascinating.

Stained Glass

The Loretto Chapel Staircase

Featuring possibly one of the most famous stairs in the world, the “miraculous staircase” is the subject of controversy and myth over both its design and creator. It has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support.

Loretto Chapel Staircase

Legend says that after 9 days of prayer Saint Joseph himself appeared and built the staircase, which took at least 6 months to build. The story has been featured in it’s own movie and on the hit TV show Unsolved Mysteries.

Loretto Chapel Stairs

Visiting was well worth the entry fee, and once you’ve finished there’s a small gift shop for souvenirs. It’s located just a block south of the Santa Fe Plaza in downtown Santa Fe.

More info at the official website: