Mission Santa Barbara (Video)

Mission Santa Barbara was the tenth of the California missions and the only one that Franciscans have had continuous control since its establishment on December 4, 1786. The presidio (or fort) was built about six years before the mission. Although Father Serra accompanied the soldiers to the presidio in Santa Barbara and chose the land for the site and blessed it, but did not receive permission to begin construction before his death in 1784. Two years later his successor Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén raised the cross and placed Father Antonio Paterna there, who put up the first buildings and made the first converts.

The mission is located on top of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Often referred to as the “queen” of the missions, its beautiful design includes a Greco-Roman façade and twin towers at the entrance. Many of the mission buildings were destroyed in earthquakes, and the front of the church and the towers have been rebuilt. The present façade was reconstructed in 1950. Several old photographs are on display at the mission museum, as well as displays of Chumash art and trades that shed light on the life of the indigenous community.