On July 5th, at the 39th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committeein Bonn, Germany, The San Antonio Missions were officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 23rd World Heritage Site in the U.S, the Missions contain the nation’s largest collection of Spanish colonial architecture in North America.
Built in the early 1700s, the Missions include the Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada and Mission San Antonio de Valero (more famously known as The Alamo). These missions greatly influenced San Antonio, bringing together indigenous populations and people from the empire of New Spain. Over time, the Missions contributed to the creation of a new, distinctive culture blending native traditions with Spanish ones, providing critical insight into Texas’ iconic history and heritage. This melting pot of Latino, Native American, and Western cultures is still present in the character of San Antonio, America’s seventh-largest city.
As noted by U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Crystal Nix-Hines at the Ceremony of the inscription, the Missions contain “intricate craftsmanship combining Spanish and Native American Architecture. But what really stood out was how these communities not only merged architectural styles but integrated diverse cultures, languages, and traditions as well.” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor were also present to convey the pride of the local community in the Missions and reaffirm their commitment to protecting the site.