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Corral Area

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Navigation for La Purísima Concepción:

Tour Map

A tour of this Mission starts right at the gate. As you drive in and pay your access fee look off to the right. A series of crosses mark the Indian burial area.

Just off the parking area is the Mission museum and visitor center (a new visitor center is planned but construction has not started as of this tour). Also to the right off the parking lot is a trail that climbs the hill to the cross that overlooks the area. Take this detour if you wish to see an overview of the setting.

The museum at this location has a series of dioramas showing early mission life but the interesting things are actually spread around the entire site. (See the map page for one of these.)

Look carefully around the roof of the visitor center. It seems that it isn't just Mission San Juan Capistrano that has swallows. There were a number of nests tucked up against the roof and all were occupied during this visit. Look closely at the picture (I've blown up the nest entrance in the inset) and you'll see one of the birds looking back.

Swallow in nest
Picture taken 11:45am 21 Jul 2001

When finished looking at the visitor area, head to the left of the parking area. There is a small bridge over the creek. Exiting on the other side of the creek you enter the 1820's!

Picture taken 11:50am 21 Jul 2001

Picture taken 11:50am 21 Jul 2001

The corral is stocked with different animals that might have been present during the mission period. The sheep above and the longhorn to the left are but two of the many different animals in the corral. Goats, horses, turkeys and others are there and will often come up to the fence to say hello.
After visiting the animals continue to the end of the corral fence. There you will see a dirt path heading toward the last building (the Padre's quarters). This is the original El Camino Real as it went past the Mission site.

El Camino Real
Picture taken
11:55am 21 Jul 2001

Picture taken 12:00noon 21 Jul 2001

Keep exploring the area between the corral and the buildings. Throughout the area are remnants of the Mission. This, for example, is part of the original aqueduct system that moved water from the garden cistern to the fields beyond the cemetery (the pink, walled area shown in the background).

Water was the lifeblood of the mission system operations and most missions had an extensive aqueduct system to support their needs. Often these systems extended for many miles.

There is no single good way to tour the Mission as the entire structure and surrounding area is open for inspection. A good overview is to watch a 10 minute video produced by fourth grader Evva Vail and posted on YouTube. You can see it right here...

For our tour we'll start at the cemetery and move "upward" on the tour map.

Move to the bell tower and cemetery...Trail

Navigation for Mission La Purísima Concepción:

Mission Home :: History :: 1st Mission :: Map :: Corral Area :: Cemetery :: Church :: Workshop :: Courtyard :: Workshop Interior :: Monastery :: Monastery Interior :: Chapel :: Kitchen :: Blacksmith :: Village & Garden

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