Mission San Xavier del Bac – Tours of Arizona
Discover this astonishing achievement of construction amidst the Arizona desert.
In the center of a centuries-old Tohono O’odham settlement lies the Mission San Xavier del Bac. The original site of the mission is located 2 miles away, but was abandoned after its destruction by Apaches around 1770. Originally found by the Jesuit Order, the mission has been led by the Franciscans since 1767 when Charles III of Spain banned all Jesuits from Spanish lands in the Americas. The present building was constructed, from 1783-1797, under the direction of Franciscan Fathers, and it is believed that the native O’odham supplied the labor. After more than two-hundred years San Xavier is the only one of the three Sonoran Desert missions to still serve the local populous for which it was built. It is under a continual restoration project that is attempting preserve all of the wonderful artwork and history that is contained within the mission’s history laden walls. Its seamless blend of Byzantine, Moorish and late Mexican Renaissance, a masterpiece of beauty and art in the midst of the inhospitable desert, a monument to architecture, art and the area’s history, San Xavier del Bac is a must see when visiting the Tucson area.
For information about our tour visit Southwest Adventures.
There are many mysteries that remain about the construction of San Xavier. It has no records of architects, artists, or builders. It has been recognized that there have been at least three separate artists responsible for the paintings inside the church. The interior of the mission is covered in artwork, be it painting or sculpture, of styles similar to a Spanish baroque and native folk art of religious figures. With faded yet brilliantly striking colors, the ceiling and walls are astonishingly breathtaking. And the debate about a possible architect or builder has been further encouraged by an inscription on one of the entrance doors, “Pedro Boj. Ano die 1797” (Pedro Bojorquez a day in 1797).
Some speculate whether he is the architect, while many dismiss him as a possible carpenter or even just the door manufacturer that they received the doors from. The biggest mystery is that the east tower was never completed, nor are there any known plans to do so. Many theories have arisen about this peculiarity. It is possible that they ran out of funding, another story says that no one could be convinced to go up after the death of a worker. It is also possible that the monks didn’t want to have to pay the taxes involved with the completion of a structure, (as per the laws of Mexico at the time of its construction). However these theories do not explain why the tower has yet to be completed. Witness this phenomenal structure firsthand on our Southwest Adventures tour.
Small Group Bus Tours of New Mexico and Arizona – Read about these attractions, close to the White Sands National Monument that you will also visit on our small group tour.
If you have any questions about our Arizona and New Mexico Adventure Tours please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Southwest Adventure tour is scheduled for at least once a year, and can be booked for a group as a custom adventure travel tour at other times.