Thursday, December 13, 2012

On a Mission South of Tucson. . .

The High Plains Drifters and our friends set out on a day trip south of Tucson last week to look at the artsy crafty treasures to be found in the town of Tubac, “Where History and Art Meet”, located about half way between Tucson and the Mexican/U.S. border town Nogales.

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The real treasure we found – where art and history really do meet -- was in the Mission San Xavier Del Bac on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, not far from Tucson.  The Tohono O’odham, meaning ‘desert people’ is the name of the Native Americans who populate the Sonoran Desert in southeast Arizona and northwest Mexico.

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The present structure was built between 1783 and 1797, long before the area was to come under U.S. control as a result of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.

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The Mission was founded by Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino nearly a century before this structure was started. Kino, born in what is now Italy, joined the Spanish order and was assigned to Spain’s Colony in Mexico. History considers him both priest and explorer, as he made some 40 expeditions into the area now known as Arizona and others up the Baja before his death in 1711 in Sonora.

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The missionaries were forced to leave San Xavier in 1828 but returned in 1911- a year before Arizona attained its statehood.
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This Kino Mission is the only one in the nation still active in preaching to the Tohono O’odham.

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The mission’s Spanish mission architecture – the domes, carvings, flying buttresses distinguish it from other Spanish missions. It is called “The White Dove of the Desert”.

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If You Go:

Map picture

The Mission is 9 miles south of Tucson, off Interstate 19, exit 92 on San Xavier Road. Hours: Daily 7 – 5 Mission (no photos allowed during services) Museum daily 8 – 4:30 p.m. No admission fee for either; donations welcomed.

And Down the Road. . .

129Just south of Tubac (exit 29 off Interstate 19) is Tumacacori National Historical Park where you’ll find the abandoned Mission San Jose de Tumacacori – visited by Kino in 1691. It was after the King of Spain expelled the Jesuits, replacing them with Franciscans that the work was started on the massive adobe church that was never completed and ultimately abandoned in 1848. It is also worth a visit.



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19 comments:

  1. A very beautiful church, great find :)

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  2. Lovely church. So interesting to read about the Spanish - and Native American - influences in the USA.

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    1. I am usually so wrapped up in the history of Europe that I do forget about some of the remarkable explorers we had so very long ago --

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  3. I always love the architecture you find at the missions but I've never taken the time to explore inside. I love the contrast of the white buildings against a blue sky. You've covered a lot of ground on this trip.

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    1. I am sorry we didn't stop at the older unfinished one now, just to have seen the contrasts. And yes, we've put some miles on Ol' Paint the Camry this trip.

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  4. The history behind these missions is fascinating. I was surprised that they were built in the 18th century!

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    1. It is pretty amazing to think this kind of construction was taking place here at this point in history.

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  5. This is a beautiful mission with an interesting history.
    Father Kino sounds like quite an adventurer. Thanks for sharing this find, Jackie!

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    1. Yes, I need to read up a bit more on Father Kino; just the small amount I found on the internet had me wanting more.

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  6. I've been to all of these places and they are definitely worth a visit if you're heading to Southern Arizona.

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  7. The Southwest is the one part of the U.S. I've never visited in depth. The culture seems so different than everywhere else.

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    1. It is a wonderfully beautiful area - I'd recommend it, Evan.

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  8. I was just helping my daughter study about the Tohono O'odham this week. She was supposed to write down all the words in the story she didn't know, and this was one of them. I really like the close-up of the mission.

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    1. That is good to hear that they are still studying the Tohono O'odham; not sure I remember ever having done so.

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  9. How gorgeous, Jackie. I feel like I'm in Spain. Love those blue skies, too!

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    1. It is rather amazing how much this place reminded me of some of the Spanish cathedrals we visited while there. We've started home and hit snow and rain - I miss those blue skies already!

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  10. We were in Spain earlier this year and looking at this building made me feel like we were back there again.

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