- Also known as Mission Carmel Basilica and more formally, as Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, this was the second of the nine missions founded by Father Junipero Serra. The area was originally chosen for its agricultural possibilities in 1771, but the temperate climate and exquisite landscape soon made it Father Serra's favorite. Indeed, he is buried, as per his wishes, in front of the church's main altar. The building, which fell into ruins in the 19th Century and has since been completely restored, exhibits classic Mission-style, fortress-like architecture, with thick, bougainvillea-covered adobe walls and a central courtyard. A Moorish-style bell tower contains nine bells and is open to the public. Though some may find the climb up the steep staircase taxing, the views from that vantage point are magnificent.
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