The title of this post is the Carmel Mission, but it should really be Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo but that’s just too damn long. Sorry, Padre… I don’t mean to be disrespectful. The place is beautiful though, and it was one of my favorite things that we saw on the drive from San Francisco down to LA. At first we drove right past it, since the signage wasn’t that good (and I was enjoying the gas pedal), but then on second thought we turned around and went back to make sure we saw at least one Mission on the trip.
Father Junipero Serra founded the Mission in 1770 and ran it until his death in 1784. He is currently buried just off the main chapel, and he is definitely worshiped quite reverently throughout the Mission. Apparently the church was very popular with the local Indians of the time, and at one point there were almost 1,000 converts living and working there. After 1818 the location was mostly abandoned, and by 1863 the buildings were in ruin. Beginning in 1884 the Catholic Church has worked on renovating the Chapel, surrounding buildings and land. There is a pretty steep $6 entrance fee, which we paid even though I have a policy against paying for religious sites (I’m an atheist, what can I say?).
Today the Carmel Mission is a National Historic Landmark as well as an active parish church and school. The architecture of the site was really beautiful; I really love that colonial Spanish look. I think California is one of the few places in the world where it works well (come on, an adobe building in London would look silly!).
Posted on 16/02/2011, in Castles & Cathedrals, travel, Travel to the States and tagged adobe buildings, architecture, California, Catholic Church, Junípero Serra, Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, Photography, San Francisco, Spanish architecture, Spanish Colonial. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.