Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mission San Xavier--part I

part of the knave (center) of the mission
If you have time to visit only one Spanish historic site, this is it! A National Historic Landmark, the Mission San Xavier is located just 9 miles south of Tucson, off AZ 19, exit 92.  It's the oldest intact European structure in Arizona, built in 1783. There are 50-60 statues inside the church, wonderful paintings and murals or frescoes. The amount of detail, carvings, symbolism, and the beautiful colors inside the church take your breath away. The mission is an active Roman Catholic church still used for Mass today.
Such beautiful colors!
We were awed by the beauty of this mission...there is a free tour of the church and it was very interesting to hear about the current restoration in progress, the architectural details of the statues, the building, and the different parts of the mission. About 200,000 visitors come from all over the world to see this beautiful mission, considered the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture. The tour guide mentioned "Baroque" style several times..In my mind, "baroque" is extremely fancy architecture and very ornate. You can see by the photos that this is true. Such things as theatrical curtain displays over the sanctuary, fake doors to maintain symmetrical balance throughout the church, and marbling throughout the entire mission are examples of the baroque style. The mission was constructed with the help of a large group of native Americans living in the area at the time--the Tohono O'odham. They are an important group of people who are still strongly connected to the mission today. The mission stands on the Tohono O'odham reservation lands and serves the people who live there.

Vaulted ceiings
The mission is constructed of clay bricks, stone and lime mortar, and is roofed wtih masonry vaulted ceilings. They were gorgeous! We have lots more photos to show you and will share again tomorrow, our last day at Palm Creek.....see you again at the Mission....It was such a beautiful place, I didn't want to leave........
Just inside the front door of the mission

No comments:

Post a Comment