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4.4
17 votes

Mission San Xavier Del Bac

1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, Arizona 85746 USA

Tour & Activity Deals

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Day trip to Tombstone Arizona and San Xavier Mission from Phoenix

Phoenix
12 hours
From $150

Tucson Day Tour

Phoenix
10 hours
From $104
Free
Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Mon 7a
  • Independent
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
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“The oldest intact European structure in Arizona!”

A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church's interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can truly step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space. The church retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners. Location: The Mission is 9 miles south of downtown Tucson, Arizona just off of Interstate 19. Take exit 92 (San Xavier Road) and follow signs to the Mission. There is no admission charge to visit Mission San Xavier. Some 200,000 visitors come each year from all over the world to view what is widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. The History: The current church dates from the late 1700's, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. In 1783, Franciscan missionary Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain was able to begin construction on the present structure using money borrowed from a Sonoran rancher. He hired an architect, Ignacio Gaona, and a large workforce of O'odham to create the present church. Following Mexican independence in 1821, San Xavier became part of Mexico. The last resident Franciscan of the 19th Century departed in 1837. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, the Mission joined the United States. In 1859 San Xavier became part of the Diocese of Santa Fe. In 1866 Tucson became an incipient diocese and regular services were held at the Mission once again. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened a school at the Mission in 1872. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity now teach at the school and reside in the convent. To view the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity website http://fscc-calledtobe.org please select from the left menu on the History page. The Franciscans returned to the Mission in 1913. Recently, Mission San Xavier became a separate nonprofit entity. It remains a testament to the endurance of culture thoughout our history. Constructed of low-fire clay brick, stone and lime mortar, the entire structure is roofed with masonry vaults, making it unique among Spanish Colonial buildings within U. S. borders. The architect, Ignacio Gaona, is credited with building another church in Caborca, Sonora Mexico. Little is known about the people who decorated the interior. The artwork was probably commissioned by Fr. Velderrain's successor and most likely created by artists from Queretero in New Spain (now Mexico). The sculpture was created in guild workshops and carried by donkey through the Pimeria Alta to its destination at the Mission. Craftsmen created gessoed clothing once the sculpture was in place. The church contains numerous references to the Franciscan cord both on the facade and throughout the church. The shell, a symbol of pilgrimage after the patron saint of Spain, Santiago or James the Greater, is replicated all through the structure in window treatments, the sanctuary, the facade and other details within the interior. The Baroque architecture style features playful dramatic elements such as theatrical curtain displays, faux doors, marbling, and overall sense of balance.

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Reviewed by
MICHAEL KENNEDY

  • 14 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
September 29, 2018
Rated 4.0

Worth the visit shame it was locked up would have loved seeing inside

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Reviewed by
melissahougen

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 01, 2018
Rated 4.0

Amazing history to be explored by all cultures.

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Reviewed by
Moni

  • 7 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 07, 2018

This landmark is absolutely breathtaking. Take a small hike up the hill for the most stunning views.

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Reviewed by
deevid

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
April 07, 2017
Rated 5.0

I highly recommend to anyone.

Cool historical place. Awesome church that has withstood the test of time. Has survived 3 different governments.

Amazing art pieces with a great Last Supper painting.

Don't walk around while Mass in going on.

You can also go up the little hill next to the church and get a 360 view of the area.

Try the Fry Bread on the way out.

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Reviewed by
MirandaTomb

  • 8 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
December 21, 2016
Rated 5.0

Beautifully kept Mission.

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Reviewed by
MirandaTomb

  • 8 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
December 21, 2016
Rated 5.0

Beautifully kept Mission.

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Reviewed by
MirandaTomb

  • 8 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
December 21, 2016
Rated 5.0

Beautifully kept Mission.

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Mission San Xavier Del Bac

1950 W San Xavier Rd
Tucson, Arizona
85746 USA

Hours

Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Independent
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Private Parking
  • Yes Parking
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