Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Arguably Santa Fe's most photographed building, this ornate Romanesque cathedral stands in grandiose contrast to much of the city's traditional Pueblo Revival architecture. The elaborate structure was commissioned in 1869 by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy—the founder of the Franciscan order immortalized in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop. The building is open to visitors daily, except during mass.
Tip: Also worth a visit: the nearby Loretto Chapel (207 Old Santa Fe Trail; 505/982-0092; www.lorettochapel.com), an 1873 Gothic gem constructed by the same builders as the cathedral. It’s famed for a 20-foot, double-spiral staircase that seems to defy physics with its lack of obvious structural support.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.