Mission Concepción

Journey to New Spain as it once was

Mission Concepción, dedicated in 1755, is the only mission church in the western Hemisphere that has not sustained major damage to its walls and roofs that had to be restored or repaired. Visitors are amazed by the solar geometry and interior acoustics. A barrel-vaulted masonry roof and 44-foot high dome dominate the interior of the church, and the impressive carved stone portal and symmetrical twin bell towers outside are prime examples of the more austere late-Baroque style of New Spain.

A double solar illumination in the Mission Concepción church takes place in August, on the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Evening light beams through a window slowly moving to the face of Mary in a painting hanging behind the alter. At the same time, a beam of light shines through the dome, illuminating the center of the cross-shaped floor in the sanctuary.

The durable construction has protected original carvings, stenciling and paintings inside which incorporate pre-Columbian and Catholic iconography. One of the most unusual pieces is known as the Eye of God, a red and yellow sun containing a face with a mustache. It is sometimes interpreted as a representation of the mix of Spanish and indigenous people who brought this Spanish Mission to life. 

While mere fragments of the original perimeter walls are buried, it is easy to understand the society that thrived within them. The prominent and well-preserved church, a living link to the past, takes you on a journey back in time.

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