WIT Press

Visual Assessment Of San Antonio Franciscan Mission Churches In San Antonio For Sustainable Cultural Heritage Tourism


Free (open access)





Page Range

403 - 415




1,099 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


S. T. Beeson & S. Doganer


In San Antonio of Texas the Catholic Church and the Spanish government established mission compounds and a small military base in the 18th century. These were part of Spain’s territorial expansion northward from Mexico. At the missions, native people were introduced to Catholicism, Spain’s national religion, and in order to learn trade, the Spanish-language, and citizenship skills they would need to join Spanish society. On each mission’s extensive farm fields and grazing lands, residents grew their own food. With more than 80 structures surviving, the mission compounds are a tangible and well-preserved representation of the influence of Spain in the New World. The missions were all located close to the San Antonio River. All missions are protected historic sites, hosting millions of local and out-of-town visitors each year. To promote their historical significance officially, the missions were nominated as a World Heritage Site. The nomination will be reviewed in 2015. If the decision about including the missions on the list of the best of the world’s natural and cultural heritage is accepted, the economy of the region will be catalyzed and the tourism value will exponentially increase. One of the initial steps of this attempt is the conservation of the structures that comprise the San Antonio Missions. The structural condition of the monuments has to be assessed to start up the conservation process regarding the whole area. There are various ways to assess the condition and safety of historic monuments. In this study, the churches, as the dominating pieces of the San Antonio Missions, are visually assessed. The assessment results will form the basis for further detailed structural analyses for a more reliable assessment of the monuments. The findings will be discussed with regard to any further


cultural heritage tourism, San Antonio Franciscan Missions, Visual assessment, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada