San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey

#2 of 8 in Historic Sites in Monterey
Church · Hidden Gem · Landmark
The Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, also known as the Royal Presidio Chapel, is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Monterey, California, United States. The cathedral is the oldest continuously operating parish and the oldest stone building in California. It was built in 1794 making it the oldest (and smallest) serving cathedral along with St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the only existing presidio chapel in California and the only existing building in the original Monterey Presidio.
The church was founded by the Franciscan Saint Junípero Serra as the chapel of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo on June 3, 1770. Father Serra first established the original mission in Monterey at this location on June 3, 1770, near the native village of Tamo. However, Father Serra became engaged in a heated power struggle with Military Governor Pedro Fages, who was headquartered at the Presidio of Monterey and served as governor of Alta California between 1770 and 1774. Serra decided to move the mission away from the Presidio, and in May, 1771, the Spanish viceroy approved Serra's petition to relocate the mission to its current location near the mouth of the Carmel River and the present-day town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
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  • This is still an operating church complex and open during the day. A very nice and well maintained example of mission churches of early California, although not one of the 21 California Missions...  more »
  • This is the oldest church in California and well worth a visit. We found it on a top 10 things to do in Monterey and were not disappointed. It has been beautifully restored with a surprise peak into.....  more »
  • We were married here 15 years ago and we picked this church as it was where my parents attended when my dad was stationed at Fort Ord. The food bank is a wonderful asset to the community and the ladies there seemed so kind and caring to those who were in need.
  • This is such an amazing church that fills you with love of God and all his children.

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