Taste of History at Mission Basilica San Diego
- August 11, 2021
- Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala
Grab the fam, some friends, or make a date out of it, and stroll around the beautiful Mission Basilica! The mission serves as an active parish church and cultural center for people of all faiths. Tours are offered Monday through Friday, and Mass is held every day.
At the gift shop, pick up a free guide to the beautiful artworks inside the church, including paintings and statuary from the 15th century through today.
Near the southern edge of the compound are the remains of the 1806 convento, the area where the friars lived. An archaeological excavation began in 1966 and is ongoing, yielding clothing, pottery, weapons and tools that are more than 175 years old. Many of the artifacts are in the mission’s museum, along with photos of Kumeyaay elders and examples of the tribe’s craftsmanship.
Around the compound, interpretive displays give glimpses into early life. A popular stop is the Casa de los Padres which recreates living quarters. Nearby is an example of a typical Kumeyaay‘ewaa, or hut, and cooking oven.
An intimate chapel is located on the grounds but it is not part of the mission’s history. It was constructed to house a set of beautiful choir stalls that were donated to the mission in the 1970s, along with an altar table and throne. The choir stalls date back to the 1400s. Look closely and you’ll see that they are decorated with whimsical animals, stylized plants and heraldic symbols.
Before you leave, take a moment to linger in the meditation garden. Under the shade of the fan palms, reflect on the history of this place and the people it impacted.
In 2019, the mission celebrated its 250th anniversary.