Mission Santa Bárbara Front

Tour map

We’ll start our tour at the front of the Mission. Coming out of the parking lot you first encounter the moorish fountain. It was built in 1808 as part of the water system. From the fountain the water flowed into the Lavanderia, a place where the Indian women came to wash clothes.

Mission/Fountain picture
Picture taken 10:00am 5 Jul 2001

Lavanderia
Picture taken 10:00am 5 Jul 2001

Lavanderia
Picture taken 11:45am 5 Jul 2001

Now, walk down to the front of the church itself. Stand back and take in the entire front then take a closer look at the details.

Mission Front
Picture taken 9:50am 5 Jul 2001

The church is neoclassical in style and was designed using an old Roman architectural text (a book by Vitruvius, circa 25 B.C.). The architect was likely master mason, Jose Antonio Ramirez. This gives this Mission a unique look. Note particularly the moorish influence in the round windows and the Roman influence with the columns and triangular layout of the statuary. The three top statues originally represented Faith, Hope, and Charity. The fourth statue of Santa Bárbara was added in 1927.

Mission Front Detail
Picture taken 9:50am 5 Jul 2001

After exploring the front of the church walk back toward the fountain, but before you get there turn around and take another look down the front porch. The view can be quite striking.

View down patio
Picture taken 10:00am 5 Jul 2001

When you get opposite the fountain you will see the Hannon statue of Blessed Serra as well as the original El Camino Real bell for the Mission. Don’t forget to rub Blessed Serra’s toe for luck.

Hannon Statue and El Camino Real bell
Picture taken 10:00am 5 Jul 2001

The stairs in front of you now lead up to the gift shop and entry to the museum and tour of the Mission grounds.