San Xavier del Bac Mission, Tucson

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 Reviews

1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson 85746 520-294-2624

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    San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona Aug...
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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Transplanted European high art

    by mht_in_la Updated Apr 20, 2004

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    dome

    Stand in front of the alter and look up, you will see the dome where natural skylight shedding through the 4 windows. This is European high art tranplanted in frontier colony. I found the 4 windows not symmetrical. Perhaps they couldn't find the skills and experiences from local workers at the time.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Fried bread

    by mht_in_la Updated Apr 20, 2004

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    around the mission

    Inside the church there are interesting exhibits and old photos. One of the photos, taken a century ago, shows the O'odham people sitting on barren ground, cooking the ancient way around the grand facade of the church. Today, the church is still grand. Little has changed. Outside the church, you can buy fried bread cooked the old fashioned way for $3 bucks a piece, as seen in photo.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    The alter

    by mht_in_la Updated Apr 19, 2004

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    Alter of San Xavier

    The church continues to serve as the parish for the Tohono O'odham and a shrine church for the visitors. The photo shows the alter. There's no marble. There's no gold leaves. It's painted to look like marble. And the mural was on adobe mixed with cactus sac, true to its character.

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  • lovemycacti's Profile Photo

    San Xavier del Bac Mission

    by lovemycacti Written Mar 13, 2004
    San Xavier Mission

    Normally, I simply hate doing things that scream 'tourist'! But this lovely and amazing Mission in the heart of the desert was simply worth it.

    Sure, you'll take pictures and inevitably get the backs of peoples heads in the way, but the intricate details and overall appearance of this gem is a site worth seeing.

    Tips:
    - Eat Fry Bread. Sure there is no nutritional value whatsoever to it, but there is an abundance of these stands on the premises and its all part of the experience.

    - Walk up the hill to the Prayer Fence. See other Tucson tip for info.

    - The nearby shops aren't much to see, but give yourself 30 minutes to stretch your legs and talk with the vendors, you just might find something that catches your eye.

    - Take plenty of water/drinks in the cooler of your car. This really is the desert!

    - Make sure your well stocked with batteries, gasoline, and film. All of which are far to drive to if you find yourself without them.

    - Be respectful! This mission is still in operation - check their website for service times. You are in the community of Wa:K - Tohono O'odham Native Reservation which means don't bring alcohol, tobacco, or firearms in - respect these people and their ways.

    - Parking and admission is free, although donations are accepted. Gift shop and mission are open 8am-5pm.

    - Not particulary for kids. Teens and children - unless extremely mature - will be bored, this isn't Disneyland.

    - Leave pets in a well ventilated, cool and locked car if you must bring them. There are many dirty dogs in the area who may not be friendly.

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  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    San Xavier del Bac Mission

    by KimberlyAnn Written Feb 23, 2004

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    San Xavier Del Back Mission

    San Xavier Del Back Mission is sometimes called “White Dove of the Desert.” This church was completed in 1797, but remains an active Franciscan mission today for the Tohono O’odham Indians. This beautiful, mostly white structure is considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Architecture in the United State, and is one of the oldest and most well preserved mission in the southwest. The inside is painted elaborately and has many large statues of angels, saints, and Mary. A self-guided tour is available daily 9:30 – 5:30 except Sunday. Donations are appreciated.

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  • jedd43's Profile Photo

    San Xavier del Bac Mission

    by jedd43 Updated Jul 17, 2003

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    San Xavier del Bac Mission

    San Xavier del Bac Mission
    (pronounced as 'hauv-e-air')
    My friend Josep, almogaver, wrote me and told me the name of the mission Sant Xavier del Bac is a real catalan name, not spanish.
    Thanks Josep ;o}

    My pictures turned out very dark but I'm going to build a travelogue anyway!
    It was an overcast day, misting - sometimes raining and the mission was crowded, I almost didn't go in.
    I'm GLAD I DID!!!
    So please take a look at the travelogue when you get time.

    It was an awesome experience and one I hope I'll never forget.
    Mission San Xavier del Bac is a Catholic church.
    It is always open.
    The east tower was never completed.
    I was told, the man doing the construction fell to his death and for whatever reason, it was never completed.
    They were white washing it and getting ready to paint it white again for the Easter Services while I was there.

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Try the Fry Bread at the Mission

    by zrim Written Mar 30, 2003

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    frybread stand

    After touring the mission, why not try something different. There are a couple different places that cook up fresh frybread while you wait. The frybread is available as a stand alone item or with honey, cheese, beans, red chile or green chile. A native american delicacy.

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    San Xavier Mission Courtyard

    by zrim Written Mar 30, 2003

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    mission courtyard

    In contrast to the ostentatious interior of the mission church, the courtyard is restful and quaint. Lots of flowers and many birds chirping happily in the shade trees.

    There is also a small museum and gift shop on the premises that are worth a look.

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Portal of San Xavier Church

    by zrim Updated Mar 30, 2003

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    The portal is a bit garish

    Quite ornate isn't it. Gives an idea of what the brazen interior holds in store. Interestingly, we were joined on our visit to the mission by several bikers dressed in full regalia. Not what I had expected, but good to have their company.

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    San Xavier Mission

    by zrim Written Mar 29, 2003

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    San Xavier Mission

    Dates from about 1780. The San Xavier Mission is both a historical relic and a functioning church. The brilliant white of the mission is pleasing to the eye from the exterior. Inside there are ornate paintings with a definite southwest flair. Meanwhile the gaudy alterpiece would be at home in any rococo church or chapel in Europe.

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  • sambarnett's Profile Photo

    Mission San Xavier del Bac

    by sambarnett Written Nov 29, 2002

    Known as the "White Dove of the Desert," Mission San Xavier del Bac is one of the most striking, beautiful and holy places I have ever seen. First established by the Jesuit "Padre on Horseback" Eusebio Kino in 1700, the current structure is the third on the location and was built between 1778 - 1797.

       The Mission still serves the Tohono O'odham (or Papago) people who live on the reservation. Their dedication and love of the Mission is immediately noticeable upon entering the building; the interior is considered one of the greatest examples of folk-baroque art in the entire world.

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  • GO and visit San Xavier Del...

    by Jonurse Written Aug 25, 2002

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    GO and visit San Xavier Del Bac Mission.
    This is just a wonderful mission church, which still serves it's population as an active church. It is very difficult to explain it, it is just one of those places wheren no matter what your beliefs are you will get goosebumps.

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  • Davidp1952's Profile Photo

    Mission San Xavier del Bac: ...

    by Davidp1952 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Mission San Xavier del Bac: Because it can be seen for miles, this white edifice rising out of the desert is often called “The White Dove of the Desert.” Situated in the midst of the San Xavier Indian Reservation, it is still the mission for the Tohono O’odham Indians and was the northernmost mission established by Father Eusebio Kino in 1629. The present buildings were begun in 1783 and took approximately 14 years to construct. They were restored in the early years of this century. The mission has been in almost continual use since its foundation, and masses are celebrated every day except Monday. (520) 294-2624.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Mission San Xavier Del Bac

    by Jim_Eliason Written Jan 5, 2008

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    Mission San Xavier Del Bac
    4 more images

    Founded in 1700, this scenic mission was one of a series built from the gulf of Cortez all the way up to Tucson.

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  • Ben-UK's Profile Photo

    Visit the beautiful Mission...

    by Ben-UK Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Visit the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac, in the desert just south of Tucson. Founded in 1692, the present building dates back to 1783.

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