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San Antonio, Texas is a beautiful city with a vibrant diverse culture and bustling downtown night life. The would-be tourist can easily be distracted by the well groomed downtown riverwalk and the world famous Alamo but there is much more to San Antonio than those attractions.
Just miles away from the Alamo, lies a string of Missions dating back to the early 1700's. Four of the missions, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Espada comprise the hidden gem know as San Antonio Missions National Park. The Alamo is also part of this mission string but is not a part of the National Park.
All of the sites are amazing but two stood out to me. Mission San Juan was the largest but also the lest original mostly being rebuilt in the early 1900's by the Government. Mission Conception is my favorite and is mostly original including original fresco's dating back to the 1700's.
During my visit, all of the missions were largely quiet and not busy with tourists. This gave visitors an opportunity to reflect and practice their faith in these still functioning sanctuaries.
These amazing sites stand alone as a reason to visit San Antonio.
"After 10,000 years, the people of South Texas found their cultures, their very lives under attack. In the early 1700s Apache raided from the north, deadly diseases traveled from Mexico, and drought lingered. Survival lay in the missions. By entering a mission, they foreswore their traditional life to become Spanish, accepting a new religion and pledging fealty to a distant and unseen king.
There are four missions in the National Park. From north to south: Mission Concepcion, Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Espada."
~ U.S. National Park Service Website (https://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm)
"Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, the largest of the Texas missions, was founded on February 23, 1720 and moved to its current location between 1721 and 1724 along the San Antonio River. Father Margil de Jesús, president of the Franciscan College of Zacatecas, was visiting Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1719 when he decided that another mission was needed and asked for permission from Marqués de Aguayo, the governor of the Province of Coahuila and Texas, to construct this one."
Excerpt from: https://www.missionsofsanantonio.org/mission-san-jose
A tree stands in front of The Alamo
What appeared to be a stray dog with one blue eye roams around Mission Concepcion.
Orginal fresca at Mission Concepcion.
Orginal Fresca at Mission Concepcion.
*Note: Some images in the San Antonio, Texas Missions album are either composite or have photoshop touch-ups including removal of some objects such as signs and debris. These are intended to be artistic rather than journalistic.