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Five Fabulous California Missions to Visit

Five Fabulous California Missions to Visit

When it comes to history and culture, California is home to some of the most beautiful missions in the United States. These stunning structures provide a glimpse into California’s past and serve as cherished treasures that have been preserved over time. These missions are not only architecturally impressive, but they also reveal much about the cultural and religious history of the state. If you are planning a trip to California or are a history enthusiast, here are five beautiful missions worth visiting!

Five Fantastic Missions in California

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Located in Orange County, Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1775 and is one of the oldest buildings in California. It served as the jewel of the California missions and was responsible for converting the native population to Catholicism. This mission is known for its iconic bell tower and beautiful gardens, which are home to rare plant and animal species.

Mission San Juan Capistrano (©Ioana Cristiana)
Mission San Juan Capistrano (©Ioana Cristiana)

Mission Santa Barbara

Founded in 1786, Mission Santa Barbara has a stunning façade and is often referred to as the “Queen of Missions”. It is one of the only missions to be continuously operated since its founding and features beautiful rose gardens and a museum that showcases the daily life of the mission’s inhabitants.

Mission Santa Barbara (©Earl Wilcox)
Mission Santa Barbara (©Earl Wilcox)

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is not just any church, it is a symbol of California’s rich history and religious legacy. This beautiful mission church has witnessed the growth and transformation of San Diego city since its establishment in 1769 by Spanish Franciscan friars. It is the first of the twenty-one Spanish missions in California and holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Californians. The church is an architectural masterpiece, showcasing a blend of Spanish and Native American styles. Its impressive bell tower, stunning altar, ornate decorations, and captivating murals make it a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history, art, or religion.

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala (©Melanie Lee)
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala (©Melanie Lee)

Mission San Francisco de Asis

Mission San Francisco de Asis, often referred to as Mission Dolores, was founded in 1776 and is the oldest building in San Francisco. It is located in the Mission District and features stunning architecture that includes a striking bell tower and beautiful murals depicting the history of the mission.

Mission San Francisco de Asis (©David Vives)
Mission San Francisco de Asis (©David Vives)

Mission San Antonio de Padua

Mission San Antonio de Padua, located in Monterey County, was founded in 1771 and is known for its peaceful and serene surroundings. It features a stunning chapel with beautiful murals that were painted by indigenous artists, as well as a museum that showcases artifacts from the region.

Mission San Antonio de Padua (©Karen Walsh)
Mission San Antonio de Padua (©Karen Walsh)
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