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Date of visit:
May 7, 2001

For location of this site in AZ, click on the map:
Location of San Xavier Mission
 

We rate this site a:

Site Highlights:
 Near Tucson
 Uncrowded mid-week
 Self guided
 Serene & peaceful
 Great restoration
 Mortuary chapel
 Franciscan Friars
 Built by Indians
 Altar - magnificent
 Museum
 

 Kachina

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        Route To Site
        The Mission - Short History
        Site Gallery - Mission San Xavier Exterior
        The Mission Interior
        Site Gallery - Mission San Xavier Interior
        Site Gallery - Around Mission San Xavier
The Mission
The finest example of mission architecture in the US
Mission San Xavier Del Bac ...

Mission San Xavier Del Bac ...

Mission San Xavier Del Bac ... acclaimed by authorities as the finest example of mission architecture in the United States. It is a graceful blending of Moorish, Byzantine and late Mexican Renaissance. So well do the diverse elements fuse, that it is impossible to point out where one style begins and the other ends.

Mission San Xavier Front facade ...

A prominent part of the Mission's facade is the Franciscan coat-of-arms with the monograms of Jesus and Mary on either side. The four figures in niches are believed to represent St. Barbara,
St. Catherine of Siena, St. Cecilia and St. Lucy.
(see gallery below for example)
Just a short 7-mile drive south of Tucson, Arizona, stands one of the most beautifully preserved Spanish Missions in the Southwest, Mission San Xavier del Bac.

Founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, the Mission is situated in the center of a Papago Indian settlement along the banks of the Santa Cruz River. The original foundation was laid in 1700. The present church was built during the administration of Father Juan Bautista Velderrain and Father Juan Bautista Llorens. The great undertaking required fourteen years of intermittent labor from 1783 - 1797.

A visitor to San Xavier Mission should note that the entire structure is a series of domes and arches, and that wood is employed only in window and door frames.

The floor plan of the Mission church resembles the Latin cross. The main aisle is separated from the sanctuary by the transept or cross aisle, which has chapels at either end. The dome above the transept is 52 feet high supported by arches and squinches.

Site Gallery - Mission San Xavier (Exterior)
 
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
A magnificent restoration!
 
 
The Mission Interior
Inside the Mission San Xavier Del Bac ...
Entering the Mission church ...

Mission San Xavier Main Altar ...

Mission San Xavier Main Altar ...

Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother ...

Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother.
In the many niches and medallions are enshrined representations of other saints. Note the heavy wooden cross encased within the plaster.
The present building was built by the Franciscan Friars with the help of the villagers of Bac, The Papagos, or Tohono O'odham Indinas. The Franciscans celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the mass daily.

Weathered doors of mesquite open into an area similar to a vestibule, with choir loft above and the main altar at the far end. The church is composed of burned brick covered with lime plaster and the interior measures 98 feet 6 inches by 21 feet 7 inches.

The retable or altar background, considered the finest example of Spanish retable north of Mexico, is divided into three tiers supported by eight columns. Built entirely of burned brick, it is covered with gilded and painted plaster embellishments.

Two semi-circular railings of mesquite enclose the sanctuary. On either side of the gate is a replica of a wooden statue of a comical crouched lion. Suspended from the pilasters flanking the snactuary are life-sized twin angels.

The reclining statue to your left as you face the main altar is that of St. Francis Xavier. This image of St. Francis Xavier represents the Patron Saint of the Mission, and it has become a place of pilgrimage to many in the Southwest.

Site Gallery - Mission San Xavier (Interior)
 
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier At Mission San Xavier
 
 
Site Gallery - Around Mission San Xavier
 
Mission Courtyard
The courtyard ... The courtyard ... The courtyard ...
Mission Mortuary
Mission mortuary Mission mortuary Mission mortuary
Mission Museum
Mission Museum Mission Museum Mission Museum
Mission Restoration
(note color difference)
Mission restoration Mission restoration Mission restoration
Mission Visitors
Mission visitors Mission visitors Mission visitors
 
 
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