On our road-trip down the Pacific Highway 1 from San Francisco to San Diego in 2009 we had an overnight stay in Santa Barbara, known as the American Riviera. It is an expensive city to stay in as it is very popular with holidaying Americans and not too far from Los Angeles. Nestled in amongst the gently rolling hills above the Pacific Ocean it is known for its Moorish architecture, colourful history and beauty. Naturally, before we left, I had to have a look at the 10th historic mission founded there in 1786 and known as The Queen of the Missions.
Unfortunately the mission wasn’t open so I wasn’t able to go inside and have a look around so my photos are all from the outside. The church was destroyed in 1925 by an earthquake and restored to its former glory with wrought iron, terracotta and carved wood.
The twin bell towers and Doric façade present an imposing impression at the top of a hill overlooking the city and bay with a backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
(click on an image to enlarge)
Unfortunately the missionaries who brought religion and trousers to the local Chumash Indians also brought influenza and smallpox that killed the 4,000 Indians who are buried in the mission cemetery.
There is a famous book by Scott O’Dell called “The Island of the Blue Dolphins” (1961) that is read in schools in the US which is based on a true story about a Native American girl left alone on one of the outer Channel Islands for 18 years before the missionaries who had taken everyone from her village to the mainland–but left her–came back to fetch her. Everyone from her village had died and she succumbed to disease within a year arriving at the mission (where they made her wear ‘proper’ dresses so she was suitably attired for the ‘mainland’). She is also buried at the Mission.