The San Antonio Missions have officially been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The decision was made on July 5 at an annual UNESCO World Heritage committee meeting in Bonn, Germany. An elite list with just 22 existing US landmarks included, the five Missions (including The Alamo) are taking their place among other great American historic and cultural institutions like the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall, in addition to natural treasures such as the Grand Canyon and world wonders like the Great Wall of China.
The Missions, which are the largest collection of the Spanish colonial architecture in North America, are the third designation in the US in the last 20 years.
“The United States has a powerful and valuable history that encompasses a wide range of peoples, creeds, and experiences. The San Antonio Missions represent an important element of our story, and a World Heritage designation will allow them to be shared not only within the US but with the wider global community,” said Crystal Nix-Hines – U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNESCO.
“The missions of San Antonio are a living history of the people and cultures that have shaped San Antonio and the United States,” said Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The experience today is a transformational one that welcomes visitors into a community where history is revered, catholic parishes still serve descendents from the original congregations and preservation is of the utmost importance.”