Mission Santa Barbara

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by E. B. on July 4, 2004

On our way to Pismo Beach, my friend wanted to stop by at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara. We agreed to stop on our return segment. The Mission in Santa Barbara is one of 21 missions that were built in California in order to convert the Native Americans into Catholicism by the Franciscan Junípero Serra. The 21 missions stretch along the California coast along Hwy 101. Mission Santa Barbara was the 10th mission established in 1786.

There are two tours to take at the mission. There is a bus tour. We didn’t bother since we wanted to be on our own. The self-guided tour is $4 per adult. I didn’t notice what the price was for children. We walked around and looked at artifacts from the mission. Some were recovered items, and others were replicas. The highlight for me was the cemetery where many people were buried. My friend wondered if any of the graves were relocated. There were crypts, and some were family crypts that were not filled yet since the relatives were still living. There are masses for people who would like to attend a service, but we did not visit on a Sunday. I did take some photos of the church. It’s a beautiful church with gorgeous statues of Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi, and others.

When we went outside, I noticed that there were spray-painted advertisements on the ground. The actual paintings were quite beautiful works of art. It was like visiting a gallery, except instead of looking up at walls with framed paintings, you were looking down on the pavement at separate blocks of spray-painted images. I am amazed at the skills of the artists who painted them. Near the church are also the statues of Junípero Serra, the lavandería of the Native Americans (area where they washed their clothes), and a fountain filled with lilies. There was an image of a bear’s head, but they moved the original sculpture of a mountain lion’s head to the rear of the lavandería. There was also a cross on the front lawn of the church. It was dedicated to Junípero Serra.

My friend was so enthralled that I had to practically drag him away. I wasn’t as impressed, but after looking up the history of the California missions, I decided that I would like to visit all 21 missions as a goal. Considering that they only go as far as San Diego up to Sonoma, it shouldn’t be that difficult a feat.

Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, California, 93105
(805) 682-4713


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