Source:Roger H. Goun
For any tourist on a trip to San Francisco, a visit to the Mission San Francisco de Asis is a must as it is the oldest building in San Francisco and is a great historical site. Father Junipero Serra founded this sixth mission on June 29, 1776 and it is thus the oldest mission in California as well. The original building was near the Arroyo de los Dolores or the Stream of Sorrows and that is why this church is also known as Mission Dolores.
The building was then shifted to its present location at the corner of 16th and Dolores Streets. The present building structure is so strong that it was able to withstand the 1906 earthquake as well as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It was also the site where’ Life of Junípero Serra’, California’s first book, was written. The basilica, the graveyard, the chapel, and the architecture of the place make it one of the most famous attractions of this city that is definitely worth checking out! Come on now let us explore 7 reasons why you should definitely check out the Mission San Francisco de Asis on a trip to San Francisco.
1. Colorful ceilings of one of the landmarks: Mission Chapel
Source:PROEnrique López-Tamayo Biosca
This chapel is definitely the first place you should come to when visiting the church as it is has one of the most colorful and lively structures and design. When you look up to the ceiling, you will be mesmerized by the way the redwood logs have been placed adding a dynamic element to the chapel. It is also repainted frequently to keep it looking fresh and beautiful. You must also stop and stare at the gorgeous detailed mural on the northern part of the chapel.
The chapel also has three ornately designed alters that are all from Mexico and each one has its own significance, which you can find out from the chapel authorities or your tour guide. The front alter is the oldest and dates back to 1796 while the side alters were placed in 1810.Say a little prayer at these alters for your loved ones or just soak in the rich history of the surroundings.
3.Enchanting stained glass windows of the Mission Basilica
All along the lower walls of the Mission Basilica are 21 stained glass windows, each one with different images. One stained window has the names and dates of all the missions in the entire state of California. Besides this, two more stained glass windows honoring Father Palou and Father Junipero Serra. The original basilica collapsed in 1906 and the new one was constructed in 1918. You must also note the detailing of the woodwork here.
4.A visit to the cemetery
Take a walk through the well-maintained cemetery of the Mission San Francisco de Asis that has graves from the years 1830 to 1898. This is the only intact cemetery in the entire city at present. The names of all the people will be listed at the beginning of the cemetery in the directory. All the gravestones have been repaired time and again to keep them in good condition.
5.All the famous dead people
Many notable people have been buried here, not just in the graveyard but within the chapel as well. You can find the graves of the first Mexican governor, Luis Antonio Arguello, the victims of the Committee of Cora, Vigilance, Sullivan, and Casey; and the first commandant of the Presidio, Lieutenant Moraga. The Californians who built this church and its earliest members as well some 5,000 Ohlone, Miwok are all buried here.
6.Explore the gorgeous gardens
There are many well-tended gardens here where you will find a variety of plants, trees, and flowers. Let your nose take in the resplendent smells of the native trees and flowers that belong to the 1791 era. You must take a walk in one of the most well-kept and prettiest gardens in the city, Rose Garden that was gifted by Golden Gate Rose Society. Another garden you must check out is the Ohlone Indian ethno-botanic garden that has Native American flora and fauna.
7.Ring those historic bells!
You must try to ring the bells that lie at the entrance of the chapel, as these are some of the oldest bells in the city. They are dedicated to San Martín, San Francisco, and San Jose and are placed on rawhide thongs. They can still create quite a huge roar so go ahead and ring away! But make sure you don’t do so when the mass is going on.
- Name: Mission San Francisco de Asis
- Address: Mission Dolores Basilica, c/o Fr. Mickey McCormick, 3321 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114 1-7-1 Kabukicho Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo
- Phone: (415) 621-8203
- Price: Free entry but suggested donations are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, and $3 for students.
- Access: You can take a 22 Fillmore electric bus as it stops right at the entrance of the chapel. You can also take the J Church streetcar that stops around one block west of the mission at Church Street. The fastest way to get here is probably by BART. Get on at a station on Union Square and then take the exit at 16th Street and Mission Station. After you have exited the station, head towards the west side for around three and a half blocks. If you need directions, go on the public transportation site of the San Francisco page where you will get a map of the entire BART transit. If you take a taxi from Union Square, you will have to pay $15 and if you are coming from Fishermans Wharf, you will have to shell out around $20 to $25.
- Opening hours: 9am-4:30pm, May 1-October 31
- 9am-4pm, November 1-April 30
- 9am-noon, Good Friday
- 9am-4pm, Holy Saturday
- CLOSED, Easter Sunday
- Website: http://missiondolores.org/old-mission/visitor.html
Have a good trip and travel!