SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS 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.