Here is the Santuario de Atotonilco. It is about a 20-30 minute drive from San Miguel and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is referred to as "The Sistine Chapel of Mexico."
Atotonilco means "hot water place" and the town is named so because of the hot springs there which are a result of the volcanos that surround the city.
The church was built in 1740, and its inspiration came in a dream. The architect chose a man in the village to paint the murals. This man was not an artist or a painter, just a chosen one.
It took 44 years to paint the interior of the church using vegetable-based paints. Eventually, the murals turned black, and the church was boarded up for years. The vegetable paint had molded, and all of the walls and ceilings were black.
Finally, artists from Mexico City came to clean and restore the murals, but it was unsuccessful. Every wall had to be completely re-painted. There were restorers from Japan and Italy who finished the paintings in the 80s.
Painted paneled doors in the entryway
Interior view of cross-shaped windows
A closeup of the domed ceiling
Exterior closeup of cross windows
Painted window detail
This is a picture from our last visit. I am afraid there might have been some vandalism because now they have this fenced in and the saint in the window was badly damaged.
If you go to San Miguel, you have to spend part of a day here in Atotonilco. I haven't visited the hot springs but walking around the area outside of the church is beautiful. There are also vendors that set up outside the church and sell their wares. You can buy hand-carved wooden saints, metal and glass light fixtures, rosaries and crosses. I wanted to create a new shrine for my office so I stocked up on this trip. I will share images of the new shrine soon.