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Discover enchanting Mission San Diego de Alcala
Do you like historical attractions? Would it interest you to learn more about modern-day California's roots? And do you enjoy strolling through lovely, tranquil gardens while admiring attractive Spanish style buildings? If these activities sound interesting to you, then you'd most certainly enjoy a visit to Mission San Diego de Alcala and Presidio Park, both of which are located in San Diego, California.
In the photo to your left, you're looking at the beautiful bell tower of the Mission San Diego de Alcala, as seen from one of the mission's flower-filled courtyard gardens. In this photo, you'll be able to spot one of the mission's most historic artifacts...read on to find out what it is!
Lovely Mission San Diego de AlcalaIf you're interested in historical sites, a visit to the San Diego Mission, one of the most historic places in all of California, should be right up your alley. You may already be familiar with the fact that Spanish missionaries extablished a chain of mission buildings along the California coast. You may not realize, however, that Mission San Diego de Alcala was the very FIRST of those missions to be established...or that Mission San Diego de Alcala served as the base from which the very gung-ho, never-to-be-swayed-from-his-task Father Junipero Serra worked and made his plans.
The current building is not the original mission, which was established in 1769. What you'll be touring is a combination of a renovation of the 1813 mission buildings, combined with relatively new buildings (constructed in 1931) that were built to LOOK like that same 1813 structure.
You'll be able to see two different church sanctuaries. The larger one, called the Mission Church, is home to regularly-scheduled Catholic services--- because Mission San Diego de Alcala, after all these years, remains an active Catholic Parish! (In fact, on the day I toured the Mission, I had to wait until a funeral service was over before I could tour the sanctuary area.)
The smaller sanctuary, La Capilla (ka-PEE-ya), remains in use as well. Both sanctuaries feature lovely altar areas. Both are open to self-touring when religious services are not in progress.
Bells were important to mission life back before timepieces were readily available. The ringing of the bells called the mission's occupants to church services, work, and meals.
In the photo to your right, you can see a very special room of the Mission San Diego de Alcala---Father Serra's quarters. Father Serra was the religious leader of the expedition whose goal was to establish a chain of missions in California. (This humble room was amazing to be in, just knowing the importance it held to California's history.) Eventually, there came to be 21 missions, each established at approximately one day's journey from the one before it.
If you're interested in learning more about Mission San Diego de Alcala, check the "practical information" section at the bottom of this page for the mission's address, phone number, a map to the mission, along with directions on how to get there.
Today, you'll be less than one hour away from the next mission to the north...which is Mission San Luis Rey in northern San Diego County. From there, you'll once again have less than an hour's drive on to the next beautiful mission, the famous Mission San Juan Capistrano...to which the swallows "return" every spring. Mission San Juan Capistrano is the only Spanish mission in Orange County...but Los Angeles county has two; Mission San Gabriel and Mission San Fernando. Each mission is built in a similar Spanish style...and yet each one is different, as well. If you enjoy historical sites, I would heartily recommend that you visit each of the missions to experience the different qualities that each one has to offer.
San Diego's Presidio Park, Original home of Mission San Diego de AlcalaAs you travel along either Interstate 5 or Interstate 8, you'll be able to spot a beautiful, Spanish-style building from the freeway. Standing high on a hill at the intersection of I-5 and I-8, and surrounded by tall, green trees, you're sure to wonder to yourself, "What is this lovely structure?"
The attractive building that you'll be seeing is actually a museum, the Junipero Serra Museum, named after the Spanish Franciscan friar who led the religious portion of the expedition to California that resulted in the founding of 21 Catholic missions.
Presidio Hill was the site of the original 1769 Mission San Diego, which soon moved to its own site further inland...the site where Mission San Diego de Alcala still stands today. Presidio Hill was also the home of the San Diego Presidio (fort.)
Though neither one of these original buildings still exist on Presidio Hill, Presidio Park was founded to preserve the site for future generations, and to preserve the archeological evidence which the occupants of these buildings left behind. Excavations at the park are continuously on-going so that remnants of the past May be discovered.
Inside the beautiful Junipero Serra Museum you can see the artifacts which have been un-earthed so far on this site. You'll see house wares and other artifacts relating to both the Presidio's occupants...plus other artifacts left on this site during various periods of San Diego's history: Native American, Spanish, independent Mexico, and finally, American. And, of course, you'll learn more about the founder of the California Mission chain, Father Serra, as well.
The museum's cost is $5/adults and $2/children. (The park's grounds, however, are free.)
(And if you're interested in historical sights, the large, outdoor San Diego Historical Museum is only a few blocks away. The San Diego Historical Museum is a "must see" for history buffs. Many original old San Diego buildings are situated there around a huge grassy central plaza. Kids can run and play while adults delve into San Diego's past. Shoppers will enjoy the San Diego Historical Museum, as well...because many of the historical buildings double as shops selling all sorts of interesting wares.)
The Padre Cross is an area featuring a cross built in 1913 and made out of floor tile pieces from the original Presidio. In this area, you'll find trails and other statuary. The Arbor, of course, is an attractive structure around which flowering plants twine, and it's a beautiful spot for taking photos. But then, ALL of Presidio Park seems to be "just meant" for taking beautiful photos!
Mission San Diego de Alcala -- Address, Map and DirectionsThe Mission San Diego de Alcala address is---
10818 San Diego Mission Road
San Diego, CA 92108
Mission San Diego's phone number---
Directions to Mission San Diego de Alcala---
To get a better mental picture of where you'll be headed, take a look at the following road map of the area around the San Diego mission. Use the following link to see a
road map of Mission San Diego de Alcala, nestled in the intersection of I-15 and I-8.