Press Release

San Antonio Missions Receive World Heritage Designation by UNESCO

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SAN ANTONIO, July 7, 2015 | comments

On July 5, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named the five San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, as a World Heritage Site.

The iconic Spanish missions were built by Franciscan missionaries in the 18th century when San Antonio was part of colonial New Spain and are an example of the interweaving of Spanish and Coahuiltecan cultures. The five missions consist of Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada and Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) and embody nearly 300 years of history and culture. They continued to play an important role in early Mexican history and during the struggle for Texas independence.

Last December, the San Antonio delegation passed legislation to expand the boundaries of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

“Congratulations to the city of San Antonio, Bexar County, and all who have been involved in obtaining this high honor. The San Antonio missions embody our rich heritage,” said Congressman Lamar Smith. “These Missions are more than Texas landmarks; they are international treasures that we will continue working to preserve and protect for generations to come.”

"The designation of the historic San Antonio missions as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is something all of Texas and the United States should celebrate proudly,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar. “These missions are a testament to the long and rich history of Texas and its people. They serve as a looking glass into what life was like in colonial New Spain and independent Texas. This designation is also one of personal pride for San Antonians, many of whom are the descendants of the original Coahuiltecan peoples and Spanish immigrants who lived in and around the area.”

“I am proud and grateful that UNESCO designated the San Antonio Missions a World Heritage Site,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “Today is particularly special for the many San Antonians who have worked for years to make this prestigious honor a reality. Not only does the World Heritage Site designation raise San Antonio’s international profile, it stands to add over a thousand jobs and more than $100 million to our city’s economy. This recognition is just one more reason why folks from around the world should be sure to visit San Antonio and enjoy all our culturally rich city has to offer.”

“This success results from years of effort by so many,” said Congressman Lloyd Doggett. “Now more people from around the world will come to appreciate our treasure that represents the culture and diversity of San Antonio. What we have long known is officially recognized—our Missions are a part of what is formally called the “patrimony of humankind.”

"Texans have long been proud of the rich heritage and culture represented by these missions and we are grateful to see them receiving the international recognition that they are due,” said Congressman Will Hurd. "This decision shines a light on a history and a community which are more than worthy. I look forward to seeing the great benefits that San Antonio will receive as visitors from around the world travel to see these beautiful missions for themselves. My thanks goes to the many individuals and organizations who have worked so hard to make this a reality."

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