Mission San José de Tumacácori

The Mission San José de Tumacácori provides history lessons as well as architectural and garden inspiration.

As summer is officially ending this weekend (noooooo!) with Labor Day approaching, this will be a commemorative post of that wonderful season which allows for traveling and exploring.

When we go to visit my parents in Arizona, we always try to do a few new things. We did several this trip, one of which was visiting the mission ruins of Tumacácori in the Tumacácori National Historic Park. The Mission San Xavier del Bac outside of Tucson is in beautiful condition. This one, however, is in a different state. It is still lovely and worth seeing. Just a short 45-minute drive from Tucson.

Tumacacori Museum3-1

Entrance to the visitor center. (Photo: GoFools)

One enters through the visitor’s center where there is a museum and gift shop.


Spanish-style video viewing.

Spanish-style chairs line up to enable viewing of a short video explaining the history of Father Kino and the O’odham Indians.


Fountain in the walled garden.

The best part of visiting the mission was seeing this walled garden outside the center. There was a lovely fountain, but the highlight was the trees. There were pomegranates, pears, and figs all growing within the walls of this small garden. The climate was unique for the Arizona desert. It was arid but very fertile. Instead of the usual brown, when looking around there was overwhelming green.


Pear tree ripe with fruit.

21.04.10 Tumacacori 70 (Small)

Beautiful fountain. (Photo: Cheshire Cats Capers)


Mission San José de Tumacácori.

After reluctantly leaving the garden, we went to see the main event.


Close-up view.


Beautiful doors to the mission.

Beautifully carved wooden doors lead into the dark church. It was reasonably cool inside considering it was summer in Arizona. The large high-ceilinged space was quite impressive in scale.


Dim dramatic interiors were meant to impress.

Interesting brick detail under the beamed ceiling.


Faded glory of the altar.

The sanctuary area was simple .


Details of what once was.

Faded remnants of the decorative painting can still be seen.


Paper flowers in the Mexican tradition.

Paper flowers lovingly surround an image of Jesus.


Walled cemetery of Tumacácori.

A walled cemetery sits behind the church. The round building housed the bodies of the deceased while they awaited their burial. More interesting brick details adorn the simple architecture.

Casa V can bring architectural interest to your home.