Unveiling – Mission San Xavier del Bac

sanxaviermission2008The scaffolding that encased the west tower of the historic mission church came down just in time for Christmas services. Restoration of the tower took five years and over $5 million dollars to complete. Old cement plaster was carefully removed and brick work repaired before refinishing with traditional lime plaster. Original construction began in 1783 – the oldest European-style building in Arizona. A mix of Moorish, Byzantine and late Mexican Renaissance design San Xavier del Bac is acclaimed as the finest example of mission architecture in the United States.

For years visitors have been frustrated trying to capture photos of the Southwestern icon, often referred to as the “White Dove of the Desert.” Photographers better hurry to capture the unblemished glistening white tower. Scaffolding goes up on the east tower in March, its restoration is expected to take three years.21-san-xavier-del-bac1

Located west of I-90, south of Tucson, the mission is open to the public daily from 8 am – 5 pm. There is no fee to visit but contributions to the restoration fund gratefully accepted. A gift shop adjoins the church. When you visit don’t miss the amazing interior and the museum behind the church. A video of the interior restoration merits the viewing time. This is an active parish of the Tohono O’odham, be respectful of worshipers.

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