The Santa Barbara Mission is located on a hill above the centre of a famous coastal resort on California’s legendary west coast. In 1820, the sacred building’s architect wanted to base his design on the architectural and artistic styles of Roman temple construction. While in Spain, a Franciscan friar acquired a book that contained details of Pre-Christian buildings designed by the Roman architect, Vitruvius Pollio.
Long before the Spanish invaded and the arrival of missionaries, this region was inhabited by a tribe of Native American Indians, the Chumash. The early religious community that settled here educated the Indians in Christianity thus, a number of the important leaders of the Chumas were converted to Christianity.
Compared to other Spanish missions in North America, the splendid design of Santa Barbara’s interior and the church’s precious works of art are unique.
Right up to the present day, an important part of the historic and cultural heritage of California has been lovingly maintained within this veritable Queen of Missions.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.