Basílica «Nuestra Señora de Candelaria»

Basílica "Nuestra Señora de Candelaria"
Basílica de Ntra. Sñra. de Candelaria

The basilica is consecrated to the Virgin of Candelaria, Patron Saint of the Canary Islands. The building was declared a Site of Cultural Interest, and in 2011 Pope Benedict XVI declared the church as a Minor Basilica. In 1959 the island’s society got really involved in its construction. Many people made donations to defray its costs. Bishop Domingo Pérez Cáceres promoted the work and commissioned it to the Canary Islands’-born architect Enrique Marrero Regalado. He designed a modern, eclectic building combining several styles to be found in the Canary Islands. Doric order capitals can be seen at the central nave. The ceiling’s polychrome symbolically alludes to the colours of the Virgin’s classical vestments. The main altar is decorated with a massive mural by the painter José Aguiar, and it houses the current image of the Virgin. This carving was commissioned to the sculptor Fernando Estévez del Sacramento, who created this delicate art piece after the flood of 1826 left the islanders without the original image found by the Guanches. Today we see the Virgin on a wooden throne with gilded plant motifs and flanked by angels. The image has a crescent moon at her feet that alludes to Revelation 12: «A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head». Inside the basilica, the paintings by José Aguiar allude to two distinguished figures of the Canary Islands. Above the chapel’s entrance door, a scene represents Father Joseph of Anchieta, a Jesuit missionary and Canary Islander who was blessed in Brazil. On the sacristy’s access door, a scene with St. Brother Peter reminds us of this Franciscan missionary and religious man, who was canonized in the year 2002 by Pope Benedict XVI in Guatemala.

The two paintings by Manuel Martín González, a Guía de Isora-born painter, on either side of the main entrance, are also noteworthy. They represent the place where the Holy Image was found. The murals at the entrance to the votive candle racks were painted by Juan Ruano and Dimas Coello, both from Candelaria. The mural at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament depicts the «Agitation of Angels» and the «Holy Communion». This work was finished by the painter Waldo Aguiar. Undoubtedly, the Basilica of Candelaria is one of those meeting points for all Canary Islanders and one of the main pilgrimage destinations as well as a sanctuary consecrated to the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands. This modern construction was inaugurated in 1672, as the first basilica was destroyed by a terrible fire in 1789. After several attempts to reconstruct the sanctuary, the new one was finished on 1 February 1959. The building envelope is modern, with a regional, and eclectic style, a mixture of all styles to be found in the Canary Islands, from Gothic until today. It has a capacity for some 5,000 people. Inside the building, its decoration and the main altar stand out with the presiding carving of the Virgin commissioned to the sculptor Fernando Estévez. The expressionist murals that decorate it were painted by José Aguiar. One of his best works can be seen inside the lady chapel: the mural “Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes». This space is open daily for those who wish to come and see the Virgin up close.

Interesting information for your visit

Address: Plaza de la Patrona, s/n 38503 Candelaria
Telephone: +34 922 500 100
Ticket price: Free entrance
Opening hours:
From Tuesday to Sunday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm
Monday: from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Mass time:
Working days, Saturdays, and days prior to public holidays
Sundays and holidays of obligation: 8:00, 10:00, 12:00, and 6:00 pm
Lady chapel’s opening hours:
From Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 to 12:00 (except for organized group visits)
Every day after the 6:00 pm mass service.
On Sundays, after the 10:00 am mass service. 12:00; and 6:00 pm


Legend has it that in the 14th century and while walking with their cattle along Playa de Chimisay, two Guanche shepherds found a female carving holding a child in her right arm and a green candle in her left arm. Later, this detail was the inspiration to call her Candelaria because of the candle she carried. Before the island’s conquest by the Castilians, this Christian image was a deity worshipped by the Guanches, who called it Chaxiraxi. Later on, the image was then translated to the Achbinico Cave. The carving could be preserved until 1826 when a heavy rainstorm washed the image into the sea and never found back. However, a year later, the sculptor Estévez del Sacramento had the honour of carving the image that can be currently seen inside the Basilica.