Mission San Xavier del Bac

Click on any picture to see it full-size.

The first place we went in Tucson was Mission San Xavier Del Bac, which was completed in 1797 and is still basically intact. Some well-meaning idiots covered the original adobe with concrete at some point in the 1800s, and they are trying to fix that, and the damage from moisture that the concrete caused, but it is amazingly beautiful still. We really loved it.

Also, although this was not mentioned in the Lonely Planet Arizona guidebook we used as our trip planner, there was an AMAZING cactus garden all around it, all blooming, with tame prairie dogs posing for pictures. I don't know how they left that part out of the guidebook...

I'm dividing this page into outside of mission, inside of mission, then gardens, so all of our pictures are mixed up together. They're mostly mine, but Jim and Jo Nell took some great ones too.

So first, the outside of the mission, then architectural details and cool shots.
Next, the inside of the mission, with a picture from the entrance all the way to the end. The church is built in the shape of a cross, so no way to get the whole thing in one. The rest are sections and details. Really pretty and fun to look at.
The top left is from a shrine on the other side of the garden...someone put a cat butter dish among the saints...

We joined a tour for a bit, and one of the stops was in a small museum; there is a corner where you can see the original brick work.

We also stopped in a patio outside where there was a model of the mission, and the docent showed us what had been built when. The wall with the archways was built by a bishop from California who had no idea that California mission style was completely different from Arizonan...so it's known as the California gate!

The wooden roof is dried reeds, just looked pretty..

And finally the gardens. When we walked up to this wedding cake of a building, as I got closer my eye was caught by TONS OF BLOOMING CACTI EVERYWHERE. So the next set of pictures are from the garden in front of the mission, several side gardens, and the back as well.

Definitely in my Best Picture list.

In the side garden there were ADORABLE PRAIRIE DOGS, one on each side, obviously posing for the tourists, hoping to be paid in snacks. They were SO CUTE!!!
We finished up at the mission around 1 pm, and hadn't had lunch...and oh, look, a bunch of stands selling Navajo fried bread with delicious stuff on it! This was my lunch. There are no words for how good it was. Nom nom nom. Jim finally could not resist feeding another cute prairie dog... And a very interested bird...couldn't figure out what this was.
This was such a WTF moment I had to take a picture of it. People have been flushing this toilet with their FEET????