I will start out by saying Happy Summer and advise you that this is going to be a long post. I’m sorry but this place warrants it, for me. As you will recall were were in San Antonio in April and I wanted to share this day before moving on to New York blogs.
The last day in San Antonio, I managed to convince Richard that we needed to go and visit the missions. Now I will tell you that looking at old buildings is not Richard’s favorite past time. I on the other hand, love history, old buildings and anything genealogical. I mentioned it before but it is worth mentioning again, the bus system in San Antonio is fantastic. We got around pretty easily. I had listed 3 missions to visit; Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission San Jose Church, and Mission Concepcion. If you are interested in doing this trip, just be prepared to make it a day trip so that you can take time to appreciate the essence of each mission. Make sure to take lots of water especially if you are in the summer months.
Each one was unique and well worth visiting, in my opinion. However, the one I really enjoyed the most was Mission San Jose Church. This mission is known as the Queen of the Missions. You will see why as you read through the blog.
As you enter Mission San Jose, you get the sense of being part of something so old and so historic. In February 23, 1720 Mission San Jose was founded by Father Antonio Margil.
These missions were founded to secure the land, and to be able to teach Christianity and its way of life to the local Indians. These Indians were the Coahuiltecan Indians, a small band of Native American Indians that lived in the Rio Grand Valley. This tribe of Indians was seriously diminished by disease such as smallpox, and of course, slavery.
The inside of the outer wall, we found a number of doorways. The outer wall was thick enough to build housing for around 350 Indians.
The buildings included rooms for guests, officers, a place to eat and a pantry area.
As I walked along the pathway I wondered how long, and how many people it took to build this incredible building.
In 1768, a church was built using local limestone. This church is still an active church today and Order of Friars Minor, a Catholic order, staffs the church.
In 1794, the property was given to the Indians and in 1824 the missions activities ended. The photo below shows the entrance gates into the mission grounds.
When I researched the various sights to see, I remember seeing and being fascinated with the beauty of the arches in this building.
In 1932, the buildings were repaired and restored. The walls, quarters and bastion were restored. The granary was also repaired and restored. In 2001 the gristmill was opened
I was able to walk into a small chapel in my wanderings around. It was simple and peaceful. As was the bench outside.
Below, this window is known as the Rose Window. History would have us believe that there were two possibilities to the naming of this ornate window. The first was that the window was possibly named after the creators girlfriend who, when traveling from Spain, tragically died at sea. The other possibility was that the window was named after the first Saint of the new world, Saint Rose of Lima. The craftsman however, is not known, although it is thought that he could be Pedro Huizar. This window is one of the finest examples of baroque architecture.
The tile in the image above is apparently the original tile, although somewhat faded and damaged.
While I have tried to research the significance of these two crosses, I have not found the answer.
We meandered to the back of the church and came across the granary and the grist mill, both equally interesting.
The granary was also repaired and restored. If you are interested in reading more about the granary and the grist mill reconstruction you can do so here.
There is these mini aqueducts through the garden carrying the water to the mill.
Once again we headed back to walk along the side wall heading out of the mission. I came across some interesting areas that just caught my eye.
Inside this glass casing was a miniature replica of the entire Mission San Jose.
This stunning Queen of the Missions became the showplace of the Southwest. I can certainly believe this. Its rough beauty is unparalleled to anything I have seen. If you are in San Antonio, stop by and visit this beautiful mission.
As I said, it is a long post. There were just so many corners and arches and places to visit.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. Beth’s Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.