Like it states on the plaque: The San Juan Capistrano Mission, Orange County California’s only Mission, was founded in 1776 by Padre Junipero Serra, the seventh in a chain of 21 missions established in Alta California to christianize and civilize the Indians. The stone church was destroyed in the 1812 earthquake. The mission was expropriated during Mexican rule then returned to the Catholic church in 1865 by proclamation of the president, Abraham Lincoln.
Here are the original walls of the stone church- what still stands after the earthquake of 1812, 200 years ago.
The United States is young in it’s architectural history- comparative to the European and other countries in the world. So, to see such a magnificent and imposing structure more than 200 years old and in California- it is truly a sight to behold.
There are 10 acres within the mission, available to wander and learn as much or as little history as you’d like, a self-guided audio tour is included with the admission fee.
Courtyards, gardens and fountains are all surround by Spanish style adobe architecture all beautifully preserved and maintained.
Check their website for daily activities, summer programs,special events and re-enactments.
The Mission heart, or spiritual center, is located in the Serra Chapel, which dates back to the 1780s. Generations and generations of Catholics have celebrated mass, attended weddings, baptisms, and funerals in this chapel.
The Serra chapel within the Mission still holds services M-F at 7 am, For the mass schedule at the Basilica, the San Juan Capistrano Parish’s main house of worship, please click here.
So much history and beauty in one place is astounding. Plan a visit to If you have at least a few hours and you’re in southern, coastal Orange County, I would recommend a visit to the darling town of San Juan Capistrano and it’s historical Mission.
To view more photos of the Mission, look here.