San Antonio Missions – UNESCO World Heritage Status
Four famous San Antonio historic sites, long popular with millions of visitors each year, earned a prestigious designation.
In the summer of 2015, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated The Alamo and the four other historic Catholic missions in San Antonio that comprise the San Antonio Missions as the first of the USA’s 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be located in Texas.
The Lure of the Attractions
“These missions are a living example of the interchange of cultures bringing together the indigenous, Spanish, Mexican and other influences that form south Texas today,” said Susan Snow, archaeologist for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. “The resulting cross-cultural exchange is the very essence of the great melting pot of the United States."
The Alamo is one of San Antonio’s top attractions with more than 2.5 million people visiting each year. The UNESCO designation likely draws even more visitors.
“A World Heritage designation will allow (the San Antonio Missions] to be shared not only within the U.S. but with the wider global community,” said Crystal Nix-Hines, a U.S. ambassador and permanent representative to UNESCO.
Consult a trail map to tour structures in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
The History of The Alamo
Located in downtown San Antonio, The Alamo was first constructed as the Mission San Antonio de Valero before it became a military barrack in the early 1800s and was renamed for the soldiers it housed, collectively known as The Alamo Company. The structure became infamous in 1836 during the Texas Revolution, when the Mexican province of Texas sought independence from the Mexican government. The Alamo was the site of a key battle between the Mexican and Texan armies.
Visiting The Alamo Mission in San Antonio
Learning About the Missions
The other four missions can be found about 20 kilometers south in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park off Interstate 410. Constructed in the 18th century by Franciscan missionaries, the San Antonio Missions are an intricate complex of architectural and agricultural sites. In addition to the churches, the area also features remnants of granaries, homes and water distribution systems of the missions, which were communities of indigenous people who pledged to become Spanish citizens.
Both The Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park are open to exploration every day until 5 or 5:30 p.m.; from June through August, The Alamo welcomes visitors until 7 p.m. Admission is free to The Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.