California’s ‘Queen of the Missions’ is unique for its stone facade patterned after an ancient Latin temple in pre-Christian Rome.
Mission Santa Barbara was founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén on December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, as the tenth mission for the religious conversion of the indigenous local Chumash—Barbareño tribe of Native American people. It is the only mission that escaped secularization under Mexican rule mission and the only one with two bell towers.
Church of the Poisoned Mind – Actual skulls and crossbones were often used to mark the entrances to Spanish cemeteries (campo santos). Here, at Mission Santa Barbara, stone carvings were substituted.
A close-up view of the pediment situated above the chapel entrance at Mission Santa Barbara and its unique ornamental frieze.
Father Presidente Junípero Serra
Its name comes from the legend of Saint Barbara, a girl who was supposedly beheaded by her father for following the Christian Faith.
Holy Water/Holy House
Mission Santa Barbara was officially established on December 4, 1786. However, the mission cemetery was not established until 1789. Most of the bodies interred at the mission were Indians. According to the registers, a total of 4,645 Indians were buried here.