Preservation & Environment
World Monuments Fund
The international nonprofit organization is dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the globe, i...
Located in present-day San Diego along El Camino Real, also known as the "King's Highway," Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá was the first Franciscan mission in California. While the origins of the California missions are rooted in efforts to convert Native Americans to Catholicism and expand European territory, today, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá serves as an active parish and cultural center for people of all faiths. Founded by Spanish Friar Junipero Serra on July 16, 1769, the mission endured adversity and hardship within the region, and the original structure, ravaged by time, conflict, and growth, eventually collapsed. The current structure, rebuilt in the 1930s, is a replica of the mission that stood in 1813. In 1976, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was named a "basilica", a rare honor bestowed upon a church by the pope.
Today, the mission offers visitors an on-site museum that traces the history of the area from pre-contact to the restoration of the mission. A meditation garden provides a gathering place in honor of the native people of the area, the Kumeyaay, and their heritage. The active parish community enjoys a daily and Sunday Mass service, and the elegant courtyard hosts various events and activities. The historic Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, affectionately known as the "Soul of San Diego," provides a tranquil and serene space for prayer and reflection and an opportunity to learn about the rich history of the California Missions.
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