Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mission San Juan Capistrano


The Mission of San Juan Capistrano, also known as "The Jewel of the Missions," is the only mission located in Orange County, California, and is located at 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, California.  My husband and I took a detour form our northern journey on the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1,  to visit the Mission, as it was one I've always wanted to see.



Much of California's history began with the Spanish Missions. The chain of 21 missions along California's El Camino Real ("The Royal Highway") represents the first arrival of non-Native Americans to California. The California Mission Chain was started in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra at the direction King Charles III of Spain. King Charles wanted to establish permanent settlements in "Alta California," to keep control of the land as other people and countries were beginning to come to the area, and also to convert the natives to Christianity so that they could become good Spanish Citizens. The missions were placed a day's walk from each other, about thirty miles apart. The entire span of missions along the El Camino Real is 650 miles.



San Juan Capistrano was the 7th mission and named for Crusader Saint John of Capistrano. It is now a historic landmark and museum consisting of 10-acre grounds of gardens, fountains and adobe preserved architecture. You can read the entire history of the Mission of San Juan Capistrano on the mission's web site at this link



I was amazed by all the beautiful gardens on the mission grounds.....



...that were full of flowers even though it was the middle of October.


This beautiful pink bougainvillea vine growing up the side of  abuilding was enormous!


.I saw so many butterflies flying around everywhere on the grounds.


One of the many arched corridor walkways in the Mission.


This is the entrance to the Serra Chapel, which was built in 1777.  It is the oldest building still in use in California and the only surviving church where Father Serra said Mass.



  The church is adorned with a beautiful 300 year old baroque gilded altarpiece that was imported from Spain.


Some more of the exquisitly detailed religious artifacts within the church.


Besides the gardens, other areas of interest within the Mission walls include the early adobe barracks, Friars' quarters, olive millstone, cemetery, aqueduct system, and the ruins of the Great Stone Church.



The "Great Stone Church" was designed in the shape of a cross, and once held seven domes and a bell tower so tall it could be seen from ten miles away. Begun in1797, it was completed in 1806, and was the grandest church in all of California.  Sadly, itt was was severely damaged by an 1812 earthquake during the celebration of a Mass.  Forty native worshipers, and two boys who had been ringing the bells in the tower, were buried under the rubble and lost their lives. They are interred in the Mission cemetery. The ruins are currently being preserved by archaeologists and engineers.  A model of how the church looked before the earthquake can be seen in the forefront of the photo above.



Another view of the ruins of the Great Stone Church.



We planned to spend only an hour visiitng the Mission, but my husband and I were so enthralled by its beauty and solemnity, that we spent a longer time walking around the grounds. 



From the soft gurgle of water flowing from its fountains...



...to the shade and coolness of its arbors....


I felt a sense of peace and timelessness there that I did not want to relinquish.



Visiting the Mission of San Juan Capistrano fulfilled a wish I had since I was a child, when I heard about the miracle of the yearly return of the Swallows to the Mission every March 19th, on St. Joseph's Day. They land at the mission as the bells ring in the church. Visitors from all over the world come to town awaiting their arrival and there are celebratory fiestas as well as a parade. You can read more about rhe retun of the Swallows on the Mission's web site at this link.

The piano in the photo above is in the mission and is the one that belonged to Leon Rene who wrote the tune"When the Swallows come back to Capistrano."  The YouTube video below of Pat Boone singing the song shows what the Swallows look like and also some scenes from the Mission.




Unfortunately, I read that the large number of Swallows that once descended on the Mission have been declining over the yerars, due to over development in the area.  Even so, enough still arrive to continue the celebration!   I would love to be there one day when they arrive, wouldn't you love to be there too?










Happy Veteran's Day!




I'm adding this post to:

"Pink Saturday" event on "How Sweet The Sound"
Seasonal Sundays on "The Tablescaper"
Shadow Shot Sunday- on "Hey Harriet"
Today's Flowers- on Flowers From Today




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53 comments:

La said...

Fabulous post, Pat. I've never been there an appreciate the tour through you lens.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Yes!! Yes, I would love to be there when they arrive. Pat, these are wonderful photos... of an amazingly beautiful place. LOVE everyone of them! blessings ~ tanna

Willow said...

I love San Juan Capistrano! Every time we drive to San Diego, we try to stop there--we can always find some excuse. The Italian restaurant across the street from the mission is one of our favorite places!

podso said...

I love arches and there are plenty to enjoy in these beautiful photos of yours. Thanks so much for taking us along on the tour! Have a great weekend!

Barbara F. said...

Great photos, Pat. It looks like you had fantastic weather while you were there. I remember reading a book about the swallows returning each year to Capistrano. A beautiful place, xo

Ginny said...

Oh, this place is beautiful!!! How long did you end up staying? I wouldn't have left before a half day was up! And the inside, one would never know from the outside all the gold and wonderful treasures inside.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Flea Market Makeovers said...

What a beautiful place...just the name makes me want to go there!

Kris said...

I have been to that one! But many years ago. I think I need to go again!!!

Jacqueline said...

Pat, this is just stunning! I would love to go there someday. It is so hard to believe that there are still beautiful flowers out there at this time of the year when ours are all gone.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Beautiful...the old buildings, the arches and the lovely gardens! We visited the mission at San Luis Obispo two years ago...and found that most interesting as well. Thanks for giving us a tour!

ellen b. said...

It really is amazing all the work that Father Junipero Serra did in California. I love the gardens here. Beautiful. You did the mission justice with your photos...

Old Kitty said...

Awwww these beautiful swallows!! I'm so glad that the Mission is on a mission to save these birds! LOL! Oh but seriously these pretty birds put this town on the map and so I hope the people will continue to look after them and give them the nesting sites they require - swallows are truly amazing - their migration is so incredible for such a tiny creature!

My goodness but the Mission does look as if it's been transported straight from Spain! Amazing architecture and beautiful gardens, beautiful!!

Thanks for sharing another fabulous piece of America I never knew existed (or the song I never heard of until today! LOL!) Take care
x

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

What an impressive church! Everything is just beautiful, I can see how you enjoyed your time there:@)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What amazing gardens! It would be wonderful to wander through them.

Riet said...

Oh my Pat, it is beautiful there. I can believe you stayer there much longer than your first plan was. What a wonderful mission place, the church and altar and those gardens are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Have a nice weekend.

Tracy said...

How beautiful and inspiring...*sigh*... I would love to see this place one day, it is so special to America. Look at all those flowers... GORGEOUS! Thanks for your sweet visit to my place, Pat. I've been under the weather with a nasty cold for two weeks now, so operating on slow-mode... just now surfacing. ;o) Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

Vee said...

Oh the flowers and gardens are glorious, yet my favorite photo is of the arches. For some reason, I wasn't given the option of enlarging photos today because there were many I would've liked to have seen. Hope that's some temporary thing. If so, I'll be back for a closer look. What a sad story about the earthquake and the loss of life all those years ago. I'm not surprised that you enjoyed a wonderful sense of peace there.

Theanne and Baron said...

Enjoyed my visit to the mission...brought back happy memories of southern California and Arizona! Absolutely gorgeous photos! Thanks Pat!

Roean said...

I love that place. When I was living there 2005-2007, I went to this mission a couple of times. So incredibly beautiful. I'm going to California next week. Dang. We could meet at Anthony's in San Diego if I were closer to where you are. Love that place.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

This is such a beautiful post Pat and such a lovely place! The history and the buildings along with the gardens makes this so special and interesting.
♥, Susan

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

California 4th graders used to be required to study the mission histories and build a model of one of them...I have seen the missions made from all sorts of materials including Marshmallow! Like many California families, we drove to all the missions when our oldest child reached 4th grade. We were so surprised to see St. Barbara's mission smack dab in the middle of their down town. We love San Diego the best of course, but the one by Lompoc was the most interesting as it is kept in its original state. Few people go there but it was so worth going.

Jeannelle said...

Great photo tour and info about this famous place!

Ola said...

I love the richness of flowers!

Claudia said...

I've been wanting to go there since I read (a blog!) Oyster Food & Culture. You have only reinforced my wish. The photo are as always - evocative and stunning - but the bonus is the history.

Susie Jefferson said...

What a magnificent altar, and what a wonderful church. Riotous flowers - and cloisters with a real sense of peace. Thank you for sharing.

Happy Pink Saturday from the UK!

Atelier de Charo said...

What beautiful place!

Happy Pink Saturday!
Hugs
Charo

thestonerabbit said...

What a fantastic spot, Pat. Every thing was gorgeous...I had not idea that the mission was so amazingly beautiful! I agree with you....I'd love to be there one day when they (swallows) came flying in!!

You've been such a traveler!! Yay for you!!!

We're getting ready for Gr. Boy #2....sometime around Christmas!! That will make 3 grands...all from my son and DIL! It will be a Merry Christmas, indeed!

Happy Pink Saturday! L, Dana

La Petite Gallery said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I always wanted to go there too. As I am to old now to do it, you made my day.

yvonne

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Pat, what a fabulous trip! Your photo's are sensational! The gardens are stunning!

Happy weekend!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Pat, what a fabulous trip! Your photo's are sensational! The gardens are stunning!

Happy weekend!

Oliag said...

Iam more than a bit jealous of this whole fabulous trip!

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Happy Pink Saturday Pat Sweetie...
What a beautiful serene share today. I see so many beautiful, peaceful corners that I could find a place to sit and meditate.

You have captured such beauty with the lens of your camera. I can't thank you enough for taking me along today. What a fun tour of San Juan Capistrano. I too, someday hope to visit your great state and see this amazing place as well.

Have a gorgeous weekend. Country hugs and much love, Sherry

chubskulit said...

Simply beautiful!

My Pink, have a nice weekend!

diane b said...

It sure is a beautiful, calm place. So much history and artefacts preserved is great. the gardens are beautiful and the story of the returning swallows is fascinating.

Sheila said...

This was such an interesting post Pat. Your photos are always fabulous! I really learned so much this morning. The more i read about your travels - the longer my list is. I would love to visit the missions one day...
In 1978 we headed south from Fort St John in northern BC and drove all the way south to Eureka, California. Unfortunately, our 69 Malibu required a very expensive brake job there and so we headed north again. Maybe one of these years we'll get to California again. i'm crossing my fingers xx

Pondside said...

What a beautiful and iconic place! I'd love to drive the entire span of the missions. Three years ago we visited family in San Luis Obispo and attended mass at the mission there - it was beautiful and glows in my memory.

Yvette said...

Simply a gorgeous post, Pat. I've never been to the mission, but now I almost feel as though I have. :)

What beautiful flowers! Love the archway and just the whole peaceful atmosphere.

Carol said...

It's beautiful, I can see why you wanted more time there. Just beautiful.

Sylvia K said...

It is one of the most beautiful of all the missions and your captures are superb! Such wonderful colors and flowers! Thanks for sharing the beauty! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sylvia

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I was at Mission San Capistrano once about seven years ago with a group of my students. Sadly, I had no camera along, so I will feast on your photos!

SHADOW, SHADOW

Shadow, shadow, if I could,
I would meet you in the wood,
Where the frenzied fairies play
In the blazing light of day.

But, dear shadow, I dare not
Go to that secluded spot,
For I fear the woodland path
And what’s more, the fairies’ wrath!


© 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher

Frosty Shadows

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love traveling with you, Pat! Great photos, and background information. I was so close but didn't get there.

Linda Chapman said...

How awesome!! Thank you for taking us on this lovely tour!

Catherine said...

Thank you Pat for a great post.

There is much important history at both coasts of this country, it is sad the Spanish and Native history of California in our Colonial Period is often forgotten. I do so appreciate your efforts.

Cathy

RNSANE said...

Pat, this is my favorite of all the California Missions and I've been going there since I was eighteen. I can hardly make a trip to Monterey/Carmel without stopping and, of course, when friends visit, I almost always take them to this part of California. The other place that I love to visit is the Mendocino coast, which reminds me more of New England. There are some nice bed and breakfast inns in that area and some nice wineries and restaurants. I haven't been in quite awhile, though.

I am so sad that I didn't get to see you, yet another time when you were out here.

Jojo said...

What a wonderful post detailing a beautiful place. I love the ending and learning about the swallows. Miraculous.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've always wanted to visit too. It actually looks prettier than my wildest expectations. Couldn't help but miss bougainvillea in my garden when I saw your photo.
Sam

Trotter said...

Hi Pat! No cakes! Wonderful Mission! Great post...

You're missing pre-historical Corsica at Blogtrotter Two... Enjoy and have a wonderful Sunday!

Jenny said...

Oh Pat! This is gorgeous. I've never been but it is definitely going on my bucket list...and it's so close to home for us, too!

Those arches are just enchanting!

Thanks for lettign me tag along! I think I see a weekend trip in the near future!

Sarah said...

Hi, Pat. Have a few minutes this morning so I'm taking advantage of "traveling" with you while I view all these posts I've nissed. You do take the most amazing photos. You could publish books on these topics.
Thanks for taking me to California! ~ Sarah

Marlis said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. It brought back so many memories.. xo marlis

once in a blue moon said...

as a native californian i am always thrown back to grade school whenever i see talk of the missions. when young my parents took us to all of them. its fun to see your gorgeous pics, i feel like a little girl again :)

The Tablescaper said...

It's been many years since I was at San Juan Capistrano but it is a magical place. Thanks so much for being a part of Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Beautiful photos and great description of a place I'd love to visit someday. Have been to San Diego and other missions in California, but never this place. That baroque altar is stunning.