At the heart of San Antonio, this one-time Franciscan mission stands as a repository of Texas history, a monument to the 189 Texan volunteers who fought and died here during a 13-day siege in 1836 by Mexican dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Texans lost, but the defeat inspired a later victory in Texas's bid for independence with the rallying cry "Remember the Alamo" spurring the soldiers on toward success. Today the historic shrine and barracks contain the guns and other paraphernalia used by such military heroes as William Travis, James Bowie, and Davy Crockett, who all died defending the Alamo. You can step inside the small mission and tour on your own, and then listen to a 20-minute history talk (talks occur every 30 minutes during operating hours except at noon, 12:30, and 1). Outside in the peaceful courtyard, a history wall elucidates the story of the Alamo, including its day as a religious mission.