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San Antonio Missions National Park

San Antonio, Texas

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Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Acuña

There are actually 5 missions in San Antonio. The Alamo is administered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The other four mission are strung along the San Antonio River about 3 miles apart running south from the Alamo. These four missions are part of the United States National Park system.

Mission Concepcion is the only mission named after a lady. It's church is a marvelous example of Spanish Colonial architecture. Here you will find as a Mestizo painting and the remains of a stone quarry.

Concepcion

San Jose


Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo

Called the Queen of the Missions, San Jose is the most restored and largest of the San Antonio missions.

All four of these missions have active Catholic chuches within them today. On Sundays San Jose has a mariachi mass.

Also at this mission is the grainary, acequia, Grape Arbor, Convento of Father Antonio Margil de Jesus, Indian Quarters, Carved Doors, carvings of St. Anne and San Joaquin, and the famous Rose window.


Mission San Juan Capistrano

San Juan became a trading center because it produced more than it consumed. The Mission Indians produced iron tools, cloth, and prepared hides. In their labores they grew melons, pumpkins, grapes, peppers, maize, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, and sugar cane in irrigated fields. At one time they had 3,500 sheep and nearly as many cattle on their farm.

With its surplus, San Juan established a trade network stretching east to Louisiana and south to Coahuila, Mexico.

Today we can visit where the mule trains entered the mission and camped to trade.

While this Mission's church is currently under restoration a visit to the site is still very rewarding.

 

San Juan

Espada


Mission San Francisco de la Espada

Note the church's unique entrance sometimes called a Moorish door, and the three bell espadana (bell tower).

To the left of the door is a simple wooden cross. Some claim the priests led parades with it against the diseases that plagued the missions and killed so many of the indians. Others claim the cross was carried by the parishioners in procession to pray for rain in times of drought.

Franciscan missionaries sought to make the Indians and the missions into Spanish villages and Spanish cultures. They taught the indians vocational skills like blacksmithing, weaving, masonry, and carpentry.

These vocational skills provided a legacy that the Native American artisans gave to the city of San Antonio that is still evident today.

Espada was the southern most and most exposed of the missions to raids by the Lipan Apaches and Comanches. It was also rich in fields irrigated by acequias and had herds of cattle.

 

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