A long-held dream for San Antonians came true this month as the San Antonio Missions were inscribed as a World Heritage Site—a prestigious designation that adds the Missions to a short list of important world landmarks. The decision by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was unanimous and was announced during their summit in Bonn, Germany.
Five San Antonio Missions are included in the designation: Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo), Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada, Mission San Juan and Mission San Jose.
The San Antonio Missions become the first World Heritage Site in Texas and the 23rd in the United States. Others include the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park.
"The City of San Antonio is delighted with UNESCO’s action today and the recognition that our Spanish colonial missions are of outstanding cultural and historical value to the people of the world,” said San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, who was among a contingent of city leaders present in Germany for the announcement, as reported by KSAT. “The strong collaboration responsible for our application, which includes an ongoing commitment to protect and preserve the missions, will also continue to work together to tell our story to visitors from around the globe and build even stronger relationships with countries like Mexico and Spain, because we are telling their story too.”
KSAT reported that Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, also present in Germany, noted the importance of the complicated application process, which began a decade ago, and the city’s investment in Mission Reach.
“Bexar County has been heavily invested in the community quest for World Heritage inscription with the Bexar County Historical Commission involvement in writing the application to the investment in the 8-mile Mission Reach that connects four of the missions to funding the economic impact study of becoming a World Heritage Site," he said.
The World Heritage designation could have a tremendous financial impact on the city with increased tourism and local spending, plus an influx of new jobs.
“According to a press release by the City of San Antonio,” said KSAT, “the World Heritage Site economic impact on San Antonio and Bexar County is expected to generate up to $105 million in additional economic activity and up to 1,098 extra jobs by 2025.”
The designation is being celebrated on San Antonio’s Southside, where the Missions are already embraced as a national and international treasure and where an economic jolt is expected to be felt.
For more information, visit Mission del Lago or click below to download the free Guide to Buying a New Home in Southside San Antonio.