San Juan Bautista Tourist Attractions
San Juan Bautista is located north of Salinas, in the San Juan Valley between the Gabilan Mountains and Flint Hills. A visit to San Juan Bautista must include a day at the Old Mission San Juan Bautista, the largest of the California missions and the only Spanish Plaza left in California at the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park.
Mission San Juan Bautista
HistoryLike the Santa Barbara mission, that of San Juan Bautista - situated in the center of the town of the same name, in the middle of a state park - was used only occasionally, and today serves as a parish church for the predominantly Mexico-American population. The damage caused by the 1906 earthquake was not put right until 70 years later. As it lies directly on the San Andreas Fault the mission was particularly at risk from earthquakes. However, during the 1906 earthquake it stayed more or less on its foundations. As in the San José de Guadalupe mission, music received special attention; Father Esteban Tapis formed a choir and an orchestra. He also drew up a notation system based on colors, which made it easier for the Indians to read the notes.Items of interestThe church stands on the west side of the square and is the only mission church to have three aisles. The painted altar is by Thomas Doaks, a sea-farer from New England stranded in Monterey, and apparently one of the first "Yankees" to come east. He undertook to do the painting work in return for board and lodging.
Opening hours: 9:30am-4:30pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $4.00, Senior $3.00, Child $2.00, Child 4 & under FREE
Useful tips: Donations are accepted.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop
San Juan Baptista - El Teatro Campesino
El Teatro Campesino (The Farmworkers Theater) began as a way to raise funds for the grape boycott and farmworker strike in 1965. By 1970, it had established what would come to be known as teatro chicano. It was style of agitprop theater that incorporated the spiritual and presentational style of the Italian Renaissance commedia dell'arte with the humor, character types, folklore and popular culture of the Mexican theater.
San Juan Bautista State Historic Park
The highlight of the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park is the old Plaza Hotel built in 1858. There is also a Spanish soldier's barracks. The Plaza Hotel and stable, blacksmith shop, granary, jail and several houses are also on the grounds. Exhibits show life in California during the Mission, Mexican and early American periods.
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