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The missions of California were a series of religious outposts that were founded by the Spanish Catholic Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits. The purpose of the mission was to spread the doctrine of Christianity amongst the Native Americans. It also allowed the Spaniards to bring European livestock, fruits and vegetables to the region. This gave Spain a strong economic presence in the area that was then known as New Spain. The California mission was one of three agencies used by the Spanish crown to consolidate its territories. The presidio was the military base, and the pueblo was the town. Twenty-one catholic missions were founded under the leadership of a man whose name appears on many California trails, streets and monuments: Father Junipero Serra. Because of Sera's influence on California's history, seven of these 21 catholic missions have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. In fact, in 1961, Pope John XXIII granted the Carmel mission the title of minor basilica. Then, on September 25, 1988, Pope John II beatified Juniper Serra.

The Carmel Mission Basilica was constructed from adobe, which is a sun-dried brick made of mud, manure and straw. The buildings of the mission were laid out in a square formation that surrounded a centralized courtyard. The mission grounds included farmable acres of land. However, despite the best intentions of the Franciscans, by 1823 the Native American population had dwindled. Apparently, many had died because of stomach problems resulting from the Spanish diet, to which they were unaccustomed. As a result, in 1834, the mission was secularized, and the land was dispersed. In 1859, 13 years after the United States had taken control of California, the Carmel Mission Basilica property title was returned to the church.
The church has nine bell towers and a large baptismal bath. The interior architecture of the church is quite elaborate and highly ornate. A beautiful nativity scene is painted on the church ceiling. The church also has some of the most significant religious artifacts in California. The restored missionary kitchen has giant pots, garlic strands and a wheelbarrow. You can also see the Franciscan's living quarters. Outside, are the burial grounds of Junipero Serra.
It is a very delightful place to visit and I found it far more crowded with visitors than the Santa Barbara Mission. I have another view of the Basilica in the Workshop.

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Additional Photos by Roger Edgington (edge) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 754 W: 34 N: 2205] (7409)
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