I wasn’t very enthusiastic about visiting a mission, especially an old one, but to my surprise it was more than I expected. As we approached the mission we saw it to the East as we drove South toward the road that lead directly to the mission. From a distance it appeared to be more of a Mosque than a mission and that impression stayed with us even after reaching the parking lot.
The original mission was founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino and was built nearby. That edifice was razed by the Apaches in 1770, and the existing mission rebuilt where it stands today. It is constantly undergoing renovation, from the building itself to the painted walls and ceiling inside.
When you see the building it is hard to imagine how it was built with the materials and equipment available in the 1770’s. It is reminiscent of the Moorish influence and is considered the oldest and finest Spanish Colonial architecture in the New World.
Enough already, history is one thing, visiting it and getting a feel for the building and history is another.
It was a peaceful place, quiet and cool from the outside sun and heat. Inside were well worn benches that have supported thousand upon thousands of people over the last two and a half centuries. Wooden doors weather worn from harsh elements protect the interior fro constant sand abrasion. The attached museum was, to me, somewhat depressing for it told of how the Europeans came and civilized a perfectly organized society of native Americans who celebrated spiritual matters in their own inimitable way.