Wednesday, April 20, 2016


The San Xavier Mission is located about 10 miles southwest of downtown Tucson.  Built during the period 1783 to 1797, it is considered the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States.  It is an absolutely stunning structure.  Each of the times we have visited Tucson, we have made the pilgrimage to the mission, including our most recent visit.

Here is a full frontal view.

A close look reveals that the mission is undergoing a restoration.  The tower on the left has been completed.  Actually the restoration of the remainder was halted in 2008 because of lack of funds.  That problem has apparently been resolved, and shortly the right tower will be shrouded in scaffolding, so I felt fortunate to visit the mission before that occurs.

The restored left tower and facade are nicely whitewashed, as shows in the following detail shots.

The mission's interior illustrates its combination of ornateness and humble artisan decoration.

One detail to notice in the above shot is that the octagonal dome is not perfectly regular.  The corner in the upper left of the photo is more acute than the other seven corners.

To be honest, it was quite dark in the interior, and, as I didn't have my tripod (and probably wouldn't have been able to use it anyway), many of my shots were taken at relatively high ISO values, reducing resolution.  The one exception was the shot of the interior dome above, which I took by putting the camera on the floor pointing up and triggering the shutter remotely.

The mission's rear courtyard features a number of arches that wanted to capture, but access to the courtyard was not permitted, so I had to content myself with an indirect shot.

The mission's exterior includes a number of nice details.  Here is one of an archway topped with a cross.  I somehow wanted to incorporate the dead tree into the composition.  I didn't get there.

To the left of the main building is a lovely little shrine that is topped with a bell tower.  Nice.

The stark white of the exterior, accentuated by the brilliant sunlight, created some nice shadows, as in the following shots.

If you find yourself visiting Tucson, don't miss this gem.



  1. What beautiful pictures. You have a great talent capturing each one

  2. Lovely photos of an amazing church. Thanks for posting!