The extraordinary San Antonio missions stand proudly among common urban scenery. The five fascinating Spanish missions are unlike any other historic structures in Texas. Built during the era of Peter the Great and Johann Sebastian Bach, the missions serve as testament to the important role Texas played in international history during the early 18th century.
Representing a bygone era of the Lone Star State’s storied past, these magnificent structures transport visitors to a time when Native Americans still occupied the land and European powers were staking claims in the New World. The following brief descriptions offer an overview of the individual compounds and their contributions to Texas history.
Now known as the Alamo , this mission was founded in 1718 and was the first to be established on the San Antonio River. Like the other missions, it served to protect the interests of Spain and teach Catholicism; however, it is best known as a fort that was attacked during Texas’s War for Independence from Mexico in 1836.
The mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción was relocated from East Texas  in 1731, and the church still appears as it did in the mid-1700s, when it served as the mission’s center of religious activity. The mission was once covered with colorful geometric patterns on its exterior and interior surfaces, but they have long since faded.
This is the oldest of the original East Texas missions (founded in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas). In 1731, the compound was moved to the San Antonio River and renamed San Antonio de la Espada. This mission’s church appears almost as remote today as it did in the mid-1700s since it’s the furthest south from the urban environs of San Antonio .
Known as the “Queen of the Missions,” this compound’s enviable size and organization gave it a reputation as being a model of mission life. San Jose was a major social center, featuring distinctive architecture and plentiful pastures.
Mission San Juan Capistrano was originally established in East Texas  as San José de los Nazonis. In 1731, it was relocated to the San Antonio River and renamed San Juan. Decades later, it became a major regional supplier of agricultural produce thanks to its rich farmlands.