Visit San-Carlos-Borromeo-de-Carmelo-mission aka Carmel Mission
A visit to Carmel isn’t complete without touring San-Carlos-Borromeo-de-Carmelo-mission or in short Carmel Mission which was once the headquarters and gem of the California missions. Founded in 1770 and completed in 1797, this gorgeous mission and church contains significant artwork, original artifacts and fun displays to see in the museum area along with the beautifully decorated church.
How to get to Mission San-Carlos-Borromeo-de-Carmelo
Still functioning as a church, museum and visitors center, Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo is a wonderful site to visit and located just outside of the town center. From Hwy 101 Take Route 68 to Route , turn right on Rio road and the mission eventually come across the mission on the left side and parking area. Entrance to the mission grounds is in the gift shop area to enter the church courtyard and surrounding museum and grounds.
History of Carmel Mission
Established in 1770, Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo is on the National Historic places and a Historic Landmark. Originally the main headquarters of Alta California, the mission was headed by Father Junipero Serra from 1770 until his death in 1784. Named for Saint Carlo Borromeo who was the Archbishop of Milan, this was the first Christian site confirmed in Alta California. Located near the mouth of the Carmel River, the site was ideal for growing food for the church and local population. Located close to the regional capital at Monterey, Mission Carmel was a favorite mission for Father Serra who chose it as his headquarters who helped to establish 7 additional missions throughout California.
The mission became a strong agricultural base with production of grain, corn, beans, 2180 horses and cattle and over 500 sheep and cattle around its peak in 1797. The establishment of the missions were created to convert the native Indian population into Christianity, along with cities and forts to establish Spanish lands and rule in Alta California.
The next founding father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen was charged with establishing nine more mission churches in California. After California was changed from Mexican to American rule, by the mid-19th century the mission fell into disrepair and ownership was transferred to Franciscans with the local Diocese of Monterey with Carmel church being the parish within this Diocese. Restoration work began again in 1931 and was continuous for 50 years. The funds for entry are used for ongoing restoration projects around the mission grounds.
What to see at Carmel Mission
One of the most authentically restored California Missions, Carmel Mission is still an active church of the Monterey Diocese. The center offers tours, events, art exhibits, lectures and other community events. You can visit all of the grounds around the mission including these main attractions:
The Basilica of Carmel Mission – a beautifully restored church with custom made chandeliers, hand painted murals, Spanish Colonial oil paintings and other important artwork. The vestments of the church and Father Serra are stored and on display on the side chapel area of the Basilica that you can also explore and visit.
Carmel Mission Museum – there are four museum galleries that contain interpretive displays, relics, the bronze and travertine Cenotaph, Mission vestments and other holy collections of the mission. You can also visit the main private chambers of Father Serra from the museum grounds. There are side chapels that are beautiful to see an in the process of being currently restored.
Quadrangle courtyard – the expansive outdoor courtyard with elaborate fountain is festooned with gorgeous Mediterranean plants and flowers that accent the beautiful exterior of the grounds. A colorful area to enjoy and capture some beautiful shots of the mission grounds and basilica in the background.
The side cemetery adjoining the basilica – a really unique cemetery that is decorated with local abalone and shells around each plot along with tombstones and Indian grave stones are represented in this small cemetery grounds
Details to visiting San-Carlos-Borromeo-de-Carmelo-mission
The Mission is open from 9:30 to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, 10:30 to 5pm on Sunday
Admission price to the grounds is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children
You can do a self-tour or sign up for a docent lead tour
All entry funds help to maintain the grounds and other restoration projects.
Check out more information to visiting the mission here for hours, calendar or events and other notices to visiting.
Where to stay in Carmel area
There are plenty of accommodation to base yourself while visiting Carmel Mission and other attractions in the area. Check out these top-rated hotels and inns here for current prices and availability.
The HIdeaway – beautiful boutique hotel and close walk to the beach and downtown Carmel with comfortable, clean rooms, charming details and appointments, boxed breakfast meals.
Wayside Inn – Next to Carmel Plaza and easy walk to the main shops and restaurants, comfortable rooms, clean, friendly staff and priced well for the area.
Tickle Pink Inn – Oceanfront property, lots of nice perks, amenities, plush rooms with ocean views, breakfast service and friendly staff, value priced for the area.
Check out these best reviewed places to stay through Trip Advisor here for updated calendar, availability and prices.
Check out these other posts to visiting Central California
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