Fodor's Expert Review San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Except for the Alamo, San Antonio's missions constitute San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century by Franciscan friars, the missions stand as reminders of Spain's most successful attempt to extend its New World dominion northward from Mexico: the missions had the responsibility of converting the natives (primarily American Indians) to Catholicism. The missions were also centers of work, education, and trade. They represented the greatest concentration of Catholic missions in North America, and were the basis of the founding of San Antonio. Today, the four missions are active parish churches, and each illustrates a different concept of mission life. All are beautiful, in their own ways.