San Antonio Missions

World Heritage Designation

Closeup of limestone wall at Mission San Juan
Mission Concepcion with convento arches in foreground and church in background
Mission Concepción is one of the five missions included in this UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

NPS Photo

The Only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas

In 2015, a group of five Spanish colonial missions in the San Antonio area – including most of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the Alamo – were named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The designation includes Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada, Mission San Antonio de Valero, Rancho de las Cabras, and their associated irrigation and agricultural features. This rare honor has been bestowed upon only 24 sites in the United States. The missions are the first and only World Heritage Site in Texas.

Native Quarters at Mission San Jose with door in foreground and fig tree in background
The Native Quarters at Mission San Jose show a snapshot of daily life for the Indigenous and Mestizo people of the missions in the 18th Century.

NPS Photo.

Interweaving of Spanish and Indigenous Cultures

The cultural significance of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park reaches around the world. It is an extraordinary national and international treasure. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is an example of the interweaving of Spanish and indigenous cultures that are a vital part of America’s heritage.

Since its designation as a World Heritage Site, San Antonio Missions has seen an increase in international visitors to the site. The park draws visitors from around the world to San Antonio, providing an economic boost to the local community.

San Antonio Missions now joins a list that includes cultural and natural sites of universal importance such as the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, and more.

Nine people smile at the camera in a group with blue light backdrop. Included in the picture is the Mayor of San Antonio and a Park Ranger from San Antonio Missions.
San Antonio has received many awards for projects at the World Heritage Site. One example is the  Sister Cities International Award for Best Overall Program for a city with a population greater than 300,000.

NPS Photo.

Nominated in 2011, Designated in 2015

The site is the 23rd World Heritage Site in the United States out of more than a thousand inscribed worldwide.

The Department of the Interior undertook the nomination of the San Antonio Missions with the full cooperation and written support of all the property owners within the boundaries of the nominated area, including the National Park Service, the State of Texas, the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio River Authority, the Espada Ditch Company, the San Juan Ditch Water Supply Corporation, and Mission Heritage Partners.

Then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the Department’s intention to nominate the missions as a World Heritage Site in June 2011.

Tan wayside with black text reads "The San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site" with a photo of the limestone carved rose window.
San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site includes 5 missions, 1 Spanish colonial ranch site, 1 aqueduct, and 13 miles of historic acequias.

NPS Photo.

Learn More!

Learn more about this National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the City of San Antonio World Heritage Office webpage. You can also find our park audio tour on this site!

Inclusion of a site in the World Heritage List does not affect U.S. sovereignty or management of the sites, which remain subject only to U.S., state and local laws. Detailed information can be found on the UNESCO website.
Closeup of limestone wall at Mission San Juan
Espada Aqueduct in Spring
Oldest Spanish colonial aqueduct in the United States. The Espada Aqueduct.

NPS Photo/Chantelle Ruidant-Hansen


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Last updated: June 15, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2202 Roosevelt Avenue

San Antonio, TX 78210


210 932-1001

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