This photo was taking this past Saturday at the celebration of the 215 year of the founding of Mission San Luis Rey.
Once a year, on its anniversary, the old Mission throws open its doors and invites the public to see the entire grounds.
The Mission is open generally, but most of the year the grounds are closed to the public (it is an active church with a monastery etc.).
I had the pleasure of singing there some years ago for a concert and the acoustics of the church are amazing.
It was fun to come back again and see the entire grounds
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Interior view of San Luis Rey de Francia
For us here in California, this is an ancient building! The paintings around the archways were done by the Luiseño people - the locals who lived there for eons before the Europeans showed up.
It was fun seeing the entire grounds on its annual open house anniversary day celebration.
In 1832, sailors from Peru landed at San Juan Capistrano Mission and made their way to San Luis Rey de Francia Mission to the south. They brought with them pepper tree seeds and shared some with the Friars there. This is a photo of the tree that grew from those small seeds - still vigorous and alive after some 280+ years later! Needless to say, it's certified as the oldest pepper tree in the State!