Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Mission -- Tumacacori

On our trip south to Tubac last week, we toured two missions -- San Xavier and Tumacacori. I posted pictures of San Xavier January 1. Tumacacori Mission, just south of Tubac, is an excellent example of 18th century Spanish Colonial architecture. It's one in a chain of missions established by the Spanish in the Pimería Alta, the land of the Pima Indians located between Sonora, Mexico and Tucson. Father Kino established the Mission San Cayetano de Tumacacori in 1691.

In 1800, the Franciscans began work on a new church at Tumacacori, hoping to match the baroque splendor of Mission San Xavier del Bac. Crews of Indian and Spanish workers built the adobe walls. Work was halted off and on until 1821, when Father Ramon Liberos finally resumed work. Within a few years the church was almost completed, but the bell tower was never capped with its dome. The completed structure was a striking landmark in the flat Santa Cruz Valley, with a painted façade and plaster walls embedded with crushed red brick.

It was interesting touring both these missions the same day since San Xavier del Bac and its ornate restored splendor stands in striking contrast to the crude non-restored Tumacacori. Tumacacori is maintained as a National Historic Site by the National Park Service, while San Xavier is still a working Catholic mission. (Kind of evident who has money and who doesn't!) You can still see some of the remains of ornate paint and plaster in these photos taken at Tumacacori.

Interior of the sanctuary.

Remains of ornate paint on the ceilings and above the altar.

Floral cross.

Round burial chapel and graveyard at rear of the church.

Museum courtyard garden.


Jamqueen said...

Quite a contrast between the 2 missions....both beautiful in their own way. Thanks for sharing.

Vee said...

How interesting! Thanks, Beck.

Isla Deb said...

Great photos, Beck. They really remind me of the missions of San Antonio. I'll have to do a post on those one of these days.

spanish mission archi said...

Quite a contrast between the 2 missions.