Loreto is a town in Baja California, Mexico, that is booming.
It has become the centre of tourist development with its own international airport, golf course, hotels and condominiums.
West of Loreto is a mountain range called the “Sierra de la Giganta”.
The backbone of the southern part of the peninsula.
Near Loreto a road leads into those mountains with peaks of 5512 feet (1.700 metres).
It is a spectacular road to drive.
Very steep and winding up and up offering incredible vistas of the Sea of Cortez.
Once on top of the mountain range, the road reaches a more levelled area.
To enter a canyon made by the San Javier river that brings water all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
At about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from Loreto, at an elevation of 1440 feet (440 metres), is the village of San Javier.
Where is a beautiful church built by the Spanish in the 1700’s.
Originally the Guaycura Indians lived in this area.
Until the Spanish colonists arrived.
Ambitious, inventive, unscrupulous and religious.
On May 11, 1699 the Spanish founded the Mission de San Francisco Javier Viggé Biaundó.
To turn the area into Christian territory.
With the religion came the most modern developments from Europe concerning agriculture, techniques and management.
In 1744 Father Miguel del Barco started the project of building the church of San Javier and this took him 14 years.
An incredible undertaking.
The man was from Spain and somehow he managed to design, plan, fund and actually construct the beautiful building.
He had for example special stones come from the mainland of Mexico.
Transported by ship and then by mule.
At the time communications were slow and travel times long: to go to Loreto by foot and mule must have taken at least one day.
Another impressive aspect is the fact that this Miguel del Barco must have had an enormous driving power and total conviction to start and finish this project.
He was far away from home.
From his family and his society.
It was religion that motivated him and when seeing this church, his efforts shine gloriously.
This church is considered the most beautiful one in Baja California and fortunately this is respected.
A large esplanade has been made in front of the church and it is all kept clean.
Even someone is guarding the church and its treasures.
Inside the church beautiful religious paintings can be admired and contrary to the church in San Jose de Comondu, in the church of San Javier a lady in black is exhibited.