Posts Tagged ‘missions’
Loreto has the most historic of the missions The mission, inscribed with the cool title of “Cabeza y Madre de todas las Misiones de la Alta y Baja California,” was the original headquarters for the Jesuit settlement of the Californias, and the starting point of the Camino Real, aka the California Mission Trail. Pretty much all of the early expeditions to the Californias passed through there.
The mission was founded in 1697 and the stone building was built in 1740, but it has been modified, damaged, repaired, and renovated various times.
Part of the mission is now a museum with some cool stuff like an old sugar press. This natural cross made of wild fig root was added to the museum courtyard to mark the 300 year anniversary of the mission.
There’s an eclectic mix of stone on the mission. The front facade is quarried limestone, but I counted five different kinds of stone on the entire building, plus some bricks added during some repair jobs. The mix of bricks and stone is something I’ve seen on the mainland of Mexico, and, for large buildings, the effect is much nicer than I would have expected.
More photos of the mission are below.
Mission San Ignacio de Kadakaaman was founded by the Jesuits, but the actual church was built by the Dominicans (completed in 1786), and it’s quite different from the other missions as a result. The door is more moorish in style than the other mission doors, and none of the other missions have big crests flanking the doors. Close ups of the crests and a few other photos are below. (more…)
Along with the plants of Baja, we checked out the missions down there. Pretty interesting, with more varied stonework than I expected.
My knowledge of California missions is mostly based on some half-remembered grade school field trips, but the basic outline is this: the Jesuits established most of the Baja missions, starting in 1697 at Loreto. They were expelled by the king of Spain in 1768, and the Franciscans briefly took over, but then the Franciscans were sent up into Alta California to found the missions up here, and the Dominicans took over the Baja missions. The indigenous people of Baja took a massive hit during the missionary age, with 90% of the population or more dying from European diseases, so there weren’t enough people to keep many of them going, and most were abandoned in the early to mid 1800′s, with the rest taken over by the main Catholic church. A lot of them are in ruins; a few are in use.
The La Paz mission is one of the ones still in use, though it’s not the original building. It was established in 1720 and closed in 1749, and the current building was built much more recently. Surfing the Spanish google, I found a video with photos of the towers (with Edelweiss as the soundtrack) under construction in the 1920′s, so that might be an approximate construction date. There was an outdoor mass underway when I visited and I got a chance to climb up to the top of one of the towers. Nice views of the town. I resisted the temptation to ring the bell, which was good, because one of the church officials eventually noticed the gringo up in the bell tower and was somewhat horrified I had been let up there.
We also checked out the missions at Mulege, Loreto, and San Ignacio. I started to upload photos from them, but decided to put them in separate posts which I should have up shortly. Photos of another historic building in La Paz and the mission in San Jose del Cabo (built in 1940) are below.