On June 3rd, 1770, the Mission was founded by Father Junipero Serra. Originally named Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey, it was moved a year later to a site on Carmel River, and renamed Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. In 1775 the governor was relocated to Monterey, making it the capital of California, and the church became the Royal Presidio Chapel for soldiers guarding the Spanish Presidio. In 1794 it was completed, and in 1849 it became a cathedral.
Not only is it California’s first cathedral and first stone building, but it is also the state’s oldest continuously functioning church. The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe is also the oldest non-indigenous sculpture in California. Besides being a valuable piece of local, state, and national history, the architecture is exquisite. The beauty in the sandstone carvings, stonework, and other decorative features must be seen for yourself.