Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, San Diego

#9 of 32 in Historic Sites in San Diego
Mission · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá (Spanish: Misión San Diego de Alcalá) was the first Franciscan mission in The Californias, a province of New Spain. Located in present-day San Diego, California, it was founded on July 16, 1769, by Spanish friar Junípero Serra in an area long inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. The mission and the surrounding area were named for the Catholic Didacus of Alcalá, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego. The mission was the site of the first Christian burial in Alta California. The original mission burned in 1775 during an uprising by local natives San Diego is also generally regarded as the site of the region's first public execution, in 1778. Father Luis Jayme, California's first Christian martyr who was among those killed during the 1775 uprising against the mission, lies entombed beneath the chancel floor. The current church, built in the early 19th century, is the fifth to stand on this location. The mission site is a National Historic Landmark.
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Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala reviews

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  • We enjoyed our visit to the Mission which was the first one built by Fr. Serra in our state. It dates back to 1769 but has been almost completely rebuilt. The tour is self-guided and was easy to...  more »
  • 250 years ago Saint Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M., was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded this first of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego...  more »
  • From an ethnocentric point of view, you have to appreciate the amount of work the establishing missionaries had to endure to settle in this area. They were foreigners in a land that was not their own but had a major influence on changing a culture. One would consider the language barriers and the foreign customs challenging, but yet found One Universal Truth. From a Gospel perspective, you appreciate the work in converting their faith. Stand in awe of the history of this place. Stand in awe of the serenity. Most importantly, stand in awe of the grace and the message delivered at this place. Sit in silence as you imagine and transcend in time hearing the hurriedly footsteps of the missionaries caught in their work. Imagine the fervent prayers at that prayer bench. And the amount of letters that detailed the successes of the Great Commission written at the desk there. Letters conveying the feelings of full faith, hope, and love.
  • I love this Mission. Just as a heads up there is an admission fee but it's not much for the beauty and spiritual pilgrimage it offers. I try to make it down south at least once a year to say a few prayers and pick 1 pomegranate off the tree.

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