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San Antonio


Texas

San Antonio Missions

Spanish conquistador's came to Texas in the 17th century in search of wealth and treasures in the new 'kingdom.'
In 1690, another group of Spaniards, the Franciscan friars, journeyed to the new frontier and founded some of the earliest of 38 missions established in Texas. San Antonio was the site of five of these classic church communities that brought Christianity to the Native Americans of the Southwest. Each mission consisted of the church, a granary, Indian quarters, textile shops, a blacksmith and tannery, irrigated farmlands and a ranch. Some also had a mill, fruit orchards, grape arbors and other economic advantages necessary for survival on the northern frontier.

Except for the Alamo, all of the missions are active parish churches and are included in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. San Antonio is one of the few urban areas in the United States that has a national park included within its city limits. While all of the sites are representative of the Spanish colonization effort in North America, the National Park Service has assigned interpretive themes to each of the four missions contained in the park. Park interpreters emphasize one or more aspects of the missionization process at each site. An excellent way to start your visit to the missions is to stop at the $9.5 million visitor center located at 6701 San Jose Drive, adjacent to Mission San Jose. Interactive displays and a state-of-the-art theater showing an award-winning film provide background on the mission era in San Antonio.

In addition, work is continuing on the $17.7 million Mission Trails Project. A joint effort of the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Water System, Texas Department of Transportation and National Park Service, the project will link all four missions to the Alamo with a 10-mile bike/hike trail system. A scenic 'wet' route will have a close association with the San Antonio River, while an all-weather 'dry' route will provide alternate access to the missions. Also featuring improved way finding and signage, the Mission Trails Project is being built in five phases with completion scheduled for 2004.

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Source: San Antonio CVB, photos: magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20040907
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