Sights

Loreto's traditional sights are all within a small radius around the central plaza.

MISIÓN NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LORETO

Above the entrance to Loreto's mission (cnr Salvatierra & Pino Suárez; h daily), the inscription Cabeza y Madre de las Misiones de Baja y Alta California (Head and Mother of the Missions of Upper and Lower California) attests to Loreto's role as the first capital of the Californias. Featuring a floor plan in the shape of a Greek cross, the mission suffered serious damage when the ceiling and bell tower collapsed during the 1829 hurricane. It has only been restored over the last 25 years and today is splendid sight both inside and out.

MUSEO DE LAS MISIONES

Alongside the mission church, INAH's museum (% 135-0441; admission US$3; h 9am-1pm & 1:45-6pm Tue-Sun) recounts the European settlement of Baja California in a generally chronological manner. It pays attention to the peninsula's indigenous population, honoring the accomplishments of the Jesuits and their successors without ignoring the native demographic collapse caused by the missions. It also displays a fine selection of the implements of daily ranch life of the early European settlers. The museum bookstore sells a variety of Spanish-language books about the archaeology, anthropology and history of Mexico and Baja California.

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