Mission San Juan Capistrano

Pages have already been written about the mission and the famous swallows so I won’t repeat everything that can easily be found on the internet.  Briefly, construction began in 1797 of a grand church with a domed ceiling that was completed in 1806.  An earthquake destroyed it and 40 lives in 1812.


As you can see above, it was never rebuilt.


This bell wall was built to replace the bell tower that had collapsed.


The bell wall and a courtyard from the opposite side.


Since the church was never rebuilt, the Fathers moved into the adobe chapel which some think may be the oldest building in California.


The mission complex covers 10 acres.


There is a museum and another room that is kept fairly dark that has a chalice, vestments, old books and more.


Hallways of arches…..


Many flowers and even a vegetable garden (keep in mind that this is January).


Probably what the mission is most famous for are the swallows that leave every year on October 23 to fly to Argentina and return again March 19th.  People come from all over the world to see the swallows come back and the town has a fiesta.  Their nests, called condo’s, are built under the eaves of buildings and are constructed from mud and saliva.  It takes the birds between 900 and 1400 trips to built one nest.

The entrance fee of $9 each was worth every cent and more.