Monday, February 15, 2010

Santa Barbara California

This is a view of the beautiful city of Santa Barbara looking out over the city toward the ocean. Many of the buildings are whitewashed and have red-tiled roofs. We took this picture from the clock tower of the county courthouse. In 1925 a great earthquake ruined much of the city. A bold new courthouse was proposed to inspire the city to rebuild in the dramatic Mediterranean style. The courthouse itself is an architectural wonder and in 20005 was recognized as a National Historic Landmark. It is a fine example of Spanish-Moorish architecture. There are specially designed windows, staircases and balconies. Paintings and brilliant tiles adorn the stairways and walls.The entrance is graced with a Roman-style arch. We were encouraged by the staff to look at the second floor. Here, in the assembly room, large murals depict the history of the county. I wanted to take the stairs down from there, and, as I started down the circular stairway, I found myself outside and descending into a beautiful garden area.
The picture here of a corner of the courthouse shows the clock tower and stairway that opens to the outside. The wonderful smell of that blooming saucer magnolia greeted me as I walked into this garden setting. The plants of the courthouse comprise an outstanding collection of palms and exotic plants from around the world. I am sure there was a lot we missed in touring both the courthouse and the gardens. We should have planned ahead and taken a guided tour. We did take a guided tour at the mission of Santa Barbara.
This is not the original church. The first several buildings were built of adobe, each larger than the other. After the earthquake of 1812 the present church was built. This one was built to withstand earthquakes. It is believed that a master mason  from Mexico was hired to build it. He used drawings form a building erected at the time of the Roman Empire as his guide. Consequently the church is neoclassical in style. Its decorative devises and features were considered appropriate for a temple dedicated to a goddess. The " female" architectural attributes was fitting as this church is dedicated to Santa Barbara. It was completed in 1820. This information was given to us by our Mary, our guide for the tour of the mission. This mission is one of the best preserved of all the missions. It has the original living quarters of the missionaries. In the rooms are some wonderful collections of pottery, baskets and tools used by the Chumash Indians, the first residents of this mission. The church's carved wooden railings, decorative motifs on the ceilings and walls are also very reflective of the native's culture, which for me made it quite an awesome church. Below is a picture of Christ and  Mary Magdalene which is located at the rear of the church. Those two figures impressed me, they seemed so lifelike and Mary is portrayed as a wealthy woman adorned with jewelry.

No comments:

Post a Comment