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The Beauty of Carmel Mission

The church at Carmel Mission. Saint Junipero Serra's remains are entombed in the alter area of the church (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The church at Carmel Mission. Saint Junipero Serra’s remains are entombed in the alter area of the church (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

I visited several missions along California’s Central Coast this year, and San Carlos de Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, better known as Carmel Mission, really stands out.

Also read: Elephant Seals give birth on San Simeon-area beaches

We visited on Christmas Day and the museums were closed. But, mass was just letting out so we had a chance to tour the church and the grounds. The church basilica is beautiful, with a large golden alter and Spanish Colonial religious paintings lining the walls. In addition, there are several shrines depicting religious figures tucked into quiet corners of the church.

Parishioners can light candles next to an alter area at the church at Carmel Mission (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Parishioners can light candles next to an alter area at the church at Carmel Mission (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Saint Junipero Serra, who led the efforts of Spanish Franciscian priests to eventually establish 21 missions in California (1769-1833), lived and died at Carmel Mission. His remains are buried in the alter of the church and there are several statues of his likeness across the courtyard and on the mission grounds.

Religious statues and relics are nestled into garden areas on the grounds of Carmel Mission (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Religious statues and relics are nestled into garden areas on the grounds of Carmel Mission (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Related: Listen to my radio story on Central Coast Native American Indians’ take on Junipero Serra sainthood

The gated mission grounds are spacious, with several garden areas featuring religious statues and monuments. Just outside the church is a cemetery with grassy graves lined in abalone shells.

There are two museums, which we didn’t get to see because they were closed for the holiday. If you are interested in California history, or religious artifacts, be sure to make time to tour Carmel Mission the next time you are in the Monterey area.

Click here for more information on Carmel Mission

Traffic411 Insiders Tip: Take a walk along Carmel beach. There is a path along the ocean offering stunning views of the rugged shoreline and the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course in the distance.

Carmel Mission

This mission, in Carmel, CA, was home base for Saint Junipero Serra during the time he and his Spanish Franciscan brothers were establishing religious outposts up and down the state. These photos were taken on Christmas Day 2015, when the church and mission grounds were decorated for the holidays (Photos: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).

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The cemetery at Carmel Mission features graves outlined with abalone shells in honor of Native American Indians who dedicated their lives to building the mission (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The cemetery at Carmel Mission features graves outlined with abalone shells and mentions Native American Indians who spent years building the mission (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

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