One whole day of vacation was spent in San Antonio visiting the Missions.
San Antonio is home to five missions, established in the 1700's by missionaries from Spanish Mexico, built as churches and community centers for the Indians, and they are all still used as churches and still have Sunday service!!
The most famous mission of course, is San Antonio de Valero, or better known as "the Alamo". Can you believe I don't have a picture of the front of the Alamo? You know, that famous picture of the front of the Alamo? The one that everyone goes to San Antonio to get, that one picture?
Yeah, I don't have one.
I blame the heat, I wasn't thinking clearly. And it was really crowded. Really crowded. The other missions, not so much. The other missions were not as easy to find, unlike the Alamo which was literally in the middle of town. Sometimes we were the only ones visiting the other missions.
Which will account for all these pictures I did get:
This is Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, also known as the Queen of the Missions, because it is the largest. The compound was founded in 1720 and the church built between 1768-1782 and it is the only mission in the area where the entire compound has been restored/rebuilt, including the church and the wall that surrounds it.
Notice the octagon shaped window on the right. This is called Rose's window. It is the only mission with a decorative window built into it and no one knows why it was built or why it was named. Although it looks like the window is close to the ground so you can just walk up and go look in- but- it is actually way too high to look through and even if you could look through it, you would only see a wall on the other side. Its a mystery. (My husband thinks it was done for air circulation).
This is Mission Nuestro Senora de la Purisima Concepcion. It was built in 1731, and it is the oldest un-restored stone church in America. They say the Church acoustics are equal to the Mormon Tabernacle.
Can you see the twin bell towers? This is the Mission that has been restored the least and is therefore in the most original state. It still has the original decorative paintings on the inside walls. The ones on the outside walls are gone.
This one is Mission San Juan Capistrano, also built in 1731.
To the right of this little chapel, you can see what looks like a low wall, these are ruins of a larger, more elaborate church that was never completed.
Pretty interesting stuff, isn't it?