Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, County
Mission Santa Barbara (seen
in all the photos above), is the only one of 21 California missions that
has twin bell towers.
Santa Barbara's "Queen of the Missions"
was dedicated on December 16, 1786 as the 10th of 21 missions founded by
Franciscan friars in California during the late 1700's and early 1800's.
The only mission with two bell towers is also unique for its stone facade,
which was reportedly patterned after an ancient Latin temple in pre-Christian
Rome. The design is traced to a book brought to California by the Franciscans,
a Spanish reprint of an architecture book originally published in 27 B.C.
Protected like a queen bee in her hive
are valuable documents archived at mission headquarters in Mission
Santa Barbara. Scholars with access to the papers discover and report
on the physical hardships and every day occurrences of the padres and native
Chumash Indians who built several missions and lived and worked on
the grounds or tended to the livestock and crops.
While farmers today are embattled over
water rights in California, the mission handled such issues with a sophisticated
and elaborate plan. Water from a creek located in the hills two miles above
the mission was transported via a stone aqueduct, to storage tanks. Separate
tanks held water for individualized needs, with a filtration system cleaning
the particles that appeared naturally in the drinking water.
Right down to the tiniest details, visitors
can see an accurate representation of what the mission looked like after
it was built. While several earthquakes took their toll, the "Queen"
was always treated well and today, she stands proudly as the most photographed
building in Santa Barbara. Made up of eight rooms, cloister gardens,
a chapel, cemetery and a beautiful fountain and courtyard, self guided
tours allow you to wander at your own pace and explore. A gift shop
sells religious items and educational materials on Santa Barbara and the
California missions. Mission Santa Barbara is open seven days a week with
a small fee charged for admission. Mission Santa Barbara Laguna & Los
Olivos Sts. Information: 805-682-4713
More information about
21 California Missions.
When visiting beautiful Santa
Barbara (one of Southern California's top destinations,) there
are many great hotels in this vacation-land. Some we've tried
have included a few Best Westerns, including
Pepper Tree. We've also stayed in the top hotels in the
city such as
Bacara, which is a beach resort...very nice, of course.