Santa Barbara Mission Church
Santa Barbara Mission Church
Few buildings define the Spanish heritage of our nation like the chain of 21 California missions established throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Their beauty, stature and history help shape our understanding of California’s evolution and its story of Native American occupation, Spanish colonization, Mexican independence, and eventual statehood.
First established in 1786 as the 10th in the mission chain, the Santa Barbara Mission, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the most sophisticated and classically proportioned missions of the original 21. The Santa Barbara mission church, completed in 1820, is the only original mission church to survive unaltered into the 20th century. Its historic sanctuary light has never been extinguished.
Based on the form of a Roman Ionic temple, the church is immense, with stunning proportions and extraordinary architectural design that have led it to be titled the [Queen of the Missions.]
Visitors to the Santa Barbara Mission can explore the church as well as the other mission buildings and their associated historic structures. Among these are the original cemetery and mausoleum, ruins of the mission’s extensive aqueduct system, several tanning vats, and 10 acres of landscaped gardens.
A museum, guided tours, and an archive-library all help educate curious visitors, school groups, and scholars alike.
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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
Officially named Saint Mary of the Assumption but better known simply as St. Mary´s Cathedral, this stunning San Francisco church has become an easily recognizable landmark for those who frequent the city.
Completed in 1971, this Roman Catholic cathedral - the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco - soars 190 feet (58m) into the air and is topped with a 55-foot-tall (17m) golden cross.
It is the third St. Mary´s to serve the people of San Francisco.
The oldest - dubbed Old St. Mary´s - still sits at California and Grant Street, at the border of Chinatown.
The other was destroyed in a fire.
The architectural style of this cathedral is usually described as Expressionist Modern.
Designed by Pier Luigi Nervi and Pietro Belluschi, the cathedral flows upward in graceful lines from each of its four corners, meeting in the middle to form a cross.
The reinforced concrete roof is covered with white Italian marble.
The four corner pylons support the cupola, which rises to 19 stories.
The pylons extend down 90 feet (27m) into the bedrock in order to provide more stable support.
According to architect´s records, the inner surface of the cupola is made up of 1,680 pre-cast triangular coffers of 128 different sizes, designed to distribute the weight of the cupola.
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