Part of a Chain
It is the 10th in a chain of 21 missions founded by Spanish padres and built along 650 miles of El Camino Real (The Royal Highway), from San Diego in the south to San Francisco in the north.
The Chumash Indians built the mission with the assistance of stonemasons from Mission San Luis Rey. The Moorish fountain and rectangular tiled lavanderia where the Chumash women did their laundry can be seen in the front grounds of the mission.
Art and History
The mission church features many fine examples of 18th and 19th century Mexican art, including two large paintings more than 200 years old. In the cemetery on the mission grounds, old tombstones show the cultural diversity of Santa Barbara's early settlers.
The original purpose of the mission was the Christianization of the local Native American population. The mission was also a center of commerce, with industries focused on animal husbandry, agriculture, weaving, pottery and basket-making.
The Santa Barbara Mission has a gift shop with religious items for sale. There is also a small museum on site featuring religious artifacts, the reconstruction of a missionary's bedroom and examples of Chumash tools and baskets. Guided tours of the mission and its grounds are available.