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[photo] [photo] Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo
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During the 18th century, the Spanish established a chain of missions along the San Antonio River. These missions became the foundation for the city of San Antonio. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service, incorporates four 18th-century missions and their acequias, or irrigation systems. The Mission Trail extends eight miles and connects these historic places. The goal of the missions was to spread the Catholic faith among the native inhabitants and to serve as a buffer against expansion by foreign invaders. The missions were primarily religious centers where the Coahuiltecan Indian population was instructed in the Catholic religion and taught European beliefs.

The church at Mission San Josť y San Miguel de Aguayo, known as the "Queen of the Missions," was constructed between 1768 and 1782. It is the second church of the Mission, originally founded in 1720. Constructed of limestone, the church has two domes, a tower, an elaborate Baroque facade and an intricately carved Rose window. In addition to the magnificent church, the mission compound consists of several restored and reconstructed buildings, including quarters for the native inhabitants, a mill and granary.

Mission San Josť National Historic Site, the largest of the Texas missions, is located at 6539 San Jose Dr. in San Antonio administered by San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The Visitor Center at the entrance to Mission San José is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Call 210-932-1001 for further information. Maps for the Mission Trail are available at the San Antonio Visitor Center, 317 Alamo Park. Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page. Other travel itineraries in the National Park Service's ongoing series include many historic destinations that you can visit online or in person. Each Discover Our Shared Heritage itinerary spotlights a different geographic region, community, or theme.


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