Welcome to San Antonio
San Antonio captures the spirit of Texas. The seventh largest city in the United States, the city has retained its sense of history and tradition, while carefully blending in cosmopolitan progress. The city has always been a crossroads and a meeting place. The sounds and flavors of Native Americans, Old Mexico, Germans, the Wild West, African-Americans and the Deep South mingle and merge. Over thirty-one million visitors a year delight in the discovery of San Antonio's charms.
The San Antonio Missions - UNESCO World Heritage Site
In the 18th century, Spanish priests established five Catholic missions along the San Antonio River. The systems instituted by the friars led to an ethnically diverse society that continues to influence our city. Today, the five missions (Mission San Antonio de Valero, Mission San José, Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada) represent the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America and have been named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
UNESCO encourages the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and national heritage around the world. To be chosen as a World Heritage Site, the missions had to meet demanding selection criteria that verified their historic importance. This rare honor has been bestowed upon only 23 sites in the United States. The missions are the first World Heritage Site in Texas.
All four mission churches still have active Catholic parishes that hold regular services. And now you can explore the Missions along the new Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk, an eight mile stretch with recreational trails, picnic and seating areas, pedestrian bridges, pavilions and portals to four Spanish colonial missions. Learn more