This Industrial Center is located inside the mission. This is were the Indians used to make their candles, soap, dye, and where they cooked their food. This indistrial center was almost lost to everyone until the 1930's when an excavation revealed the tallow vats. These are located next to the St Francis Garden and Picnic area.
The bells were very important to mission life because they indicated when the meals were, religious services, work, funerals, and other important stuff. For example with the ringing of some bells a certain amount of times and at a certain pitch the towns people could tell if a funeral was for a male or female, an adult or a child, and their age.
The bells originally were on the Great Stone Church. They hung on the bell tower until the earthquake that destroyed most of the mission in 1812. The two large bells are recast of the originals that date back to 1796. The small bells date back to 1804.
Most people like taking a picture here next to Father Serra and and the little boy. This is a tribute to Father Serra and the statue was commissioned by Father O'Sullivan in 1914. It is said that the statue symbolizes the meeting of two cultures which is the Old World and the New World. Alexis and I both took our pictures here.
They say that there are about 2000 people laid to rest here, including the 42 people that died when the Great Stone Church collapsed. The graves are mostly unmarked but you can see the huge cross and monument as a trbute to those who built the Mission. Most of them Indians. Father O'Sullivan is buried here too.
I hadnt even heard of this little neighborhood until I came here to see the Mission. Los Rios is the oldest neighborhoods in California. It is located across form the Mission and next to the metro station.
There are about 40 or so home here but only three of them are the original adobe home structures. The Montanez, the Rios, and the Silvas are all that remain of the adobes that housed the builders of the mission and the mission ranch workers in the late 1700's and early 1800's. We walked along this area and noticed that some of these homes were businesses and others were private residences. One looked like a bar and restaurant. The homes are pretty small and very unique. I am really glad that these homes were saved. Its great to see how the homes looked at one time and how much things have changed now.
There is alot of Spanish history , Mexican history and Indian history here.
The first vineyard in California was at the Mission San Juan Capistrano The Mission Winery was built in 1783 and housed an indoor vat where grapes were crushed by foot and then flowed through an opening which led to the outdoor vat where the grapes were fermented. Historically the Mission grapes grown at the Mission were used to make Red and white wine, dry wine and Brandy. Today wine is no longer produced at the mission but you can visit the site and see where California wine had it's beginnings.
As a child growing up in Southern California this mission was always a favorite stop on the way to where ever we were going camping. The crown jewel of the California missions that stretch from San Diego to San Francisco and a wonderful place to wander around and soak up the feel of early California. It is the only chapel left that Father Serra actually celebrated mass in. Beautiful and lush garden with fountains surrounded by the old arches and mission complex.
Traffic can be a bear and parking is hard to find. $7 for adults and $5 for children.
Founded November 1st 1776.
Mission San Juan Capistrano, named for St. John of Capistrano, Italy, a theologian of the 14th century. On October 30, 1775, it was abandoned because of Indian unrest at Mission San Diego. The Great Stone Church began construction in 1796; was completed in 1806;and was destroyed by an earthquake 1812. The Mission was secularized 1833, sold in 1845, and was returned to the Church in 1865. Sounds like fun, doesn't it.
Considered the oldest church in California, it is called "Serra Chapel" because it is the only building still standing where Fr. Serra had celebrated Mass.
Open Daily 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & Good Friday afternoon.
The Mission will be closed at noon on Christmas Eve.
The Mission is open on rainy days and scheduled tours will proceed as normal.
Individual Admission Prices
$6 Seniors 60 +
$5 Children ages 4 to 11
Children ages 3 and under are admitted free
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It depends on how much you like history, but Mission San Juan Capistrano is an amazing place. It is perhaps the most beautiful mission among the California missions with fantastic gardens, a small but breathtaking chapel and outdated but amusing dioramas that reveal the colonial and anti-native biases of the tourist boards that run the place. The best time to visit is early spring, since that's when the swallows come back to Capistrano. The birds aren't much to see and they have been very illusive in recent years, but the mission and surrounding town plan activities around the birds' arrival.
A self-guided tour of the mission will take about two hours. Tickets cost $6 per adult.
I try to visit the mission at least once every spring.
The "New" Parish Church was built in 1984 it is a copy of the Great Stone Church which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. With it's 104 foot bell tower, it is the tallest building in San Juan Capistrano. Pope John Paul II conferred the rank of Minor Basilica to the New Parish Church on February 14, 2000. The term "basilica" can indicate the architectural style of a church..
Within the Serra Chapel is a small room dedicated to St Peregrine, the Patron Saint of cancer patients. A peaceful place, however the room is very small maybe 11 x 11 square feet. The air is warm and heavy with the heat thrown off by the numerous votive and mass candles that are lit for a devotion in honor or memory of a loved one. A small donation is asked but not demanded.
St Peregrine was cured of cancer, after he received a vision of Christ on the cross reaching out His hand to touch his impaired limb. He died in 1345 and was canonized in 1726. He is the patron of cancer patients.
Kris and I both lit candles for those in need as well as for our family and friends. It is a comforting ritual which has been all but abandoned by many catholic churches. I was happy to see that the ritual still exists in the Mission.
Most of the flowers in the SJC MIssion Gardens are not native to California. Before the Spanish introduced irrigation, California a natural desert was covered mostly with Cactus, Chapparel and Scrub Oak. The SJC Mission has several gardens showing these indigenous plants. If you get a Docent led tour you may get a lesson on how the Jaunenos used the native plants for food, shampoo, sewing and medicinal purposes.
At the entrance of the Mission and in the center courtyard we have beautiful fountains with lilies and koi fish. The fountains look different in each of the four seasons. The picture of the bright colorful lily pads was taken right at the beggining of Fall. The pictures are nice but do not begin to capture what it is like in person. imagine hearing the trickling sound of water and seeing colorful koi swimming beneath the lily pads.
This is the original mission church, the oldest building in California and the only standing structure where Father Serra said Mass.
The altar is in the Baroque style, over 300 years old and is wood with gold leaf overlay.
Mission San Juan Capistrano, named for St. John of Capistran, Italy, a theologian of the 14th century, is the seventh mission founded November 1, 1776, the Feast of All Saints, by Fr. Junipero Serra. His icon can be seen holding the red banner on the golden altar.
The painting on the walls is a language and is read from the bottom up.
The city of San Juan Capistrano was built around the mission. All life revolved around the mission for many years. Most of the homes found in the town were homes of the farmers that supported the mission and used the local Indians as labors.
27174 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, California, 92675, United States
Good for: Solo
28742 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 92675, United States
Good for: Solo
I stayed at Mission Inn last weekend. It's a charming conversion of a motel to a bed n' breakfast/in...more