This Mission is the first of twenty-one missions founded (1769) in California, along the coastal route from south to north. It is a National, State and City Historical Landmark and it is an active parish with Masses held every day of the week.
So, if your visit is purely as a tourist, avoid the Mission during the Mass schedule. However, if your visit is both as tourist and Mass attendee then time your visit to coincide with Mass time.
To Be Continued.....
From 1769 to 1823, twenty-one Spanish missions were built along the coast of California. Their main goal was to establish a regular presence so that Catholic friars could have a chance to interact with Native Americans, build relationships and spread the Christian faith. All missions were located about 50 km apart, which made it possible to leave one in the morning and reach the other before nightfall when traveling by horseback. San Diego de Alcala was the very first and southernmost mission to be built in 1769. As with all missions, the complex included a church, living quarters and farm buildings since missions had to be self-sufficient. The friars raised sheep and cattle and tended the land, sowing beans, wheat, barley, corn and vegetables. The missions remained in use until they were taken over by the military in the wake of Mexico's war of independence against Spain. They were given back to the Catholic church in 1862 and, after much restoration work, San Diego's mission became a minor basilica in 1976 and remains an active parish church to this day. Visitors are welcome to tour around the property - brochures that include a self-guided tour are available from the gift shop. It makes for a nice introduction to the early history of San Diego.
This is one of the first (if not the first) mission on the California Mission Trail. The missions are about 25 miles apart from San Diego north to Sonoma in wine country. The 25 miles was a days travel in the 1700 and 1800s when the missions were founded.
They are all different and all beautiful. Some are historic sites and others are still vibrant Catholic parishes. Some are in ruins but most are well cared for and nearly all are in very scenic areas.
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is the first of the twenty-one missions established along the coastal length of the state of California by Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest representing Spain.
In 1769 the Mission was located at the Presido in "Old Town." In 1775 the mission was moved to it's present location up the San Diego River Valley on higher land.
The distance between each of the twenty-one missions is about a day's journey, by walking, horse or mule.
At Mission De Alcala, there is a nominal entrance fee, a dollar or so. Inside there is a small gift shop which also sells historical / religious literature along with related souvenirs that might be interesting to tourists. Also on offer are tapes that gives information about what can be seen on a self guided tour.
The church is still used by the people of the parish so, be respectful if visiting during a Mass. the first cemetary of California is in the courtyard, there are preserved rooms and artifact rooms to visit and on this site is an active archeological dig which can be seen near the entrance.
This Mission is not located in Old Town. There is a church in Old Town and it is ofentimes mistakenly, thought to be the Mission.
MISSION SAN DIEGO DE ALCALA is known n as the Mother of Missions for it was the first mission of the 21 missions of California. Father Serra on July 16, 1769 established Mission San Diego that overlooked the beautiful bay, but since the water supply was poor they did not stay, plus the native people were not exactly happy having military lurking about. So it was a young Father Luis Jayme who suggests another location and Father Serra agreed. This new site had a wonderful supply of water, plus it was located near many villages who were not intimidated by the mission. Yet, sadly, Father Jayme life would end on the night of November 4th, 1775 when several hundred native people rioted, looted, and burned the mission and killed the poor father. He is buried on the very grounds still reminding those sacrifices these Fathers endured in brings a peaceful faith and future.
Father Serra returned to the mission and had it rebuilt, but this time it in the style of army fort. Although the mission had to endure great hardships due to droughts and not having enough supplies it eventually started seeing profit with good crops. By 1797, it had finally accomplished 565 baptisms, 1405 converted to Christianity and with the land area of 50,000 acres of corn, wheat, barley, kidney beans, chick-peas; vineyards, and vegetables. It also owned 20,000 sheep, 10,000 cattle, and 1250 horses.
By 1821 with Spain loosing ownership, Mexico’s new government had other ideas. Not loyal to the Spanish Missions, the lands were taken and given to Santiago Arguello. When the United States gained ownership, the mission became a fort. Several military companies occupied the mission around 1846 -1856. The first was the Mormon Battalion Company B , who were the ones that built the second floor to house their troops so they could keep the animals downstairs was the stables. They had ladders that led to the upper floors. Then the Army of the Pacific housed here from 1851-1858 and was still used as a headquarters for the Army till 1862. Yet, finally President Lincoln deeded all the California’s missions back to the church with some acres too. In 1892, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondolet moved onto the mission compound and conducted an American Indian childrens' school for seventeen years. The mission has been rebuilt several times over the years, till finally in 1931 it was built to mirror its original 1813 style. MISSION SAN DIEGO DE ALCALA is still a very active parish as all the others missions today!
Visitor Center Museum and Gift Shop Hours: Open 9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. daily
California is famous for many Spanish missions, and there is none finer than Mission De Cala in San Diego. The architecture is quite stunning. All in white stucco with bells tolling from the rooftop. Step inside the gates and you are surrounded by beautiful garden paths leading up to wonderful religious artwork and statues of missionaries past. This is a very peaceful and serene place.
Mission de Alcala is small in size but very interesting and beautiful place to visist.
There's a small museum,shop, excavations or digs, a fountain, and the gardens are so beautiful and charmin.
If you're catholic take the time to attend mass,
the chorus in very good and the experience will be great.
Weekdays: 7am & 5:30pm
Saturday: 7am & 5:30pm
Sunday: 7,8,9,10,11,12 & 5:30pm
Mission de Alcala is a Small place with big interesting history.
Some of the interesting history.
The night of November 4th, 1775, eight hundred American Indians stormed onto the grounds in the middle of the night They pillaged the mission, burned it to the ground and massacred Father Jayme who became California's first Christian Martyr and who is buried under the altar in the present church.
The 2nd photo is the Padre's living Quarter, made of adobe and wood.
Beautiful Spanish architecture!
Founded in July 1769 by Fray Junipero Serra.
This is the 1st of 21 California Missions.
In 1976, Mission San Diego de Alcala was named a basilica.
A basilica is a church of very important historical significance.
It is an honor bestowed upon a church by the Pope.
There's an entry donation of $3 per adult.
I found this sign is in one of the walled gardens next to the basilica. It was interesting reading this for the first time, living in San Diego and never bother to know about San Diego. Im not sure if you'll be able to read it from the photo, but here is a short version, what I found most interesting to read.
Saint Didacus -San Diego
On April 19, 1562 - the son of King Felipe II od Spain - was severely injured in a fall and was close to death. The Century old incorrupt body of Fray Diego was placed in bed with Carlos while the Franciscans prayed. In the morning Carlos awakened and attributed his recovery to the vision of a Franciscan friar he had seen while inconsious.
The king and his son petitioned to Rome to have the Fray Diego declared a Saint.
In 1855 Fray Diego was declared saint.
Mission San Diego De Alcala is beautiful. There is a walled courtyard with a garden inside. The church is lovely inside as well.
In the courtyard is a fountain and a statue. If you toss a coin over your shoulder in to the fountain and make a wish...
Take a look at the Spanish Missions.
The architecture of several of these are quite graceful, well worth the time.