Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sights to See: San Diego de Alcala mission, San Diego, California


San Diego de Alcala mission  10818 San Diego Mission Rd., in Mission Valley, in San Diego.  Founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1769 at a site near the mouth of the San Diego River, this was the first California mission.  Also known as the San Diego Mission and the “Mother of the Missions,” it was relocated here--6 miles from its original site--in 1774 and has been rebuilt several times, making the current church the fifth on this site.  It is now a peaceful island amid a busy shopping area.  The mission church was named a minor basilica (a church of very important historical significance) by the Pope in 1976, and is one of only four of the California missions that are basilicas.  Two striking features are its impressive bell tower featuring one original bell and the restored church featuring textured plastering typical of Indian craftsmanship.  The well-maintained old gardens are also noteworthy.  You can rent a taped tour, which kids 7 and older particularly enjoy.  An annual Festival of the Bells that celebrates the mission’s founding takes place each July and includes a carnival and a blessing of both the bells and animals.  

front exterior of San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California
front exterior of San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California

display of all the California missions in the museum at San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California
display of all the California missions in the museum at San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California

bell tower at San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California
bell tower at San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California
 
 
interior garden at San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California
interior garden at San Diego de Alcala mission in San Diego, California
 
Article about all 21 California missions.  

More things to do in San Diego.

More information about San Diego.

Things to do in nearby La Jolla. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips.
 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

10 comments:

  1. California's missions are so interesting to visit. Thanks for writing about the San Diego de Alcala mission!

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  2. Carole, old missions fascinate me. Great for pictures and stories, as you've just demonstrated. I never seem to get to San Diego. Really must change that! That bell tower is classic!
    Well done!

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  3. I love those California missions. I haven't seen the San Diego one yet - but I plan to see them all eventually!

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    1. Be sure to check out my article on all the missions, http://berkeleyandbeyond.com/Way-Beyond/Travel-Articles/U_S_A_/California-Missions/california-missions.html

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  4. As I love architecture, I love how they displayed the other California missions. I've heard San Diego is a great place to visit so this would be neat to see too.

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  5. Now I'm really sorry I didn't visit the missions while I was in San Diego a few years ago. They sound like very important historic and spiritual landmarks. The Festival of the Bells is also very unique

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  6. Thx for the great post, Carole. I'd love to return to San Diego. It's been far too long since my last visit. Thx for the nudge!

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  7. This is interesting that the bell tower is part of the church but is a standalone feature which is different than the other California Missions - I would love to visit this one!

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  8. Some day I'd like to visit the whole string of 21 mission churches along the California coast, including San Diego de Alcala. I've only been to Carmel Mission in Carmel and Mission Dolores in San Francisco so far. They're so charming!

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    1. A good goal. I have visited most of them now but there are still a few more to go.

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