If You've Seen One...You Haven't Seen Them All

Several visitors to Hidden Valley this week have reported that they've really enjoyed their tour of the Mission Trail on San Antonio's South East side. Most are familiar with the famous Alamo but four other missions played a major part in San Antonio's early history. 

Mission San Jose
These missions are all located on a trail that begins at the Alamo and meanders southward toward the 410 Loop. Each of the Missions are approximately 2 miles apart and park rangers give guided tours or provide materials for a self-guided tour of each one. The headquarters are found at the San Jose Mission.  There you can view a short video about the unique features of each Mission and their history. 

Mission San Jose for example, is famous for it's Rose window.  La Ventana de Rosa, the Rose Window, is located on the south wall of the church sacristy. The window has been described as the site where the Host was shown to gathered mission celebrants during the Feast of Pentecost. The window, sculpted circa 1775, has been the object of both legend and admiration. It is considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in North America. The meaning behind the name is currently unknown, but legend has it named for Rosa, the betrothed of Juan Huizar who many believe created the window.  
The mill at San Jose was in use and grinding wheat by 1794. The mill is believed to be the oldest in Texas. In 2001 President Bush came to San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and dedicated the mill, which is in use today. 

By 1762 there were 203 Indians residing at Mission San Juan. The mission included a granary, textile shops, and Indian houses made of adobe with thatched roofs.
Mission San Juan
 Mission Espada has an aqueduct that is touted as a modern marvel and they say would operate perfectly if put in use today.  While the park is the major stake holder of this and other mission acequias (irrigation ditches),  private shareholders continue to use the water on their fields and in farm tanks. The grounds are impressive and the architecture very striking.

Mission Espada
Mission ConcepciĆ³n is known for its many fine examples of frescos. This tediously applied art form covered the front of the church and most of the church and convento interiors. Today only four rooms clearly show remnants of these colorful designs painted over 250 years ago.

Mission Concepcion
While many of the existing frescos are simply decorative, several are symbolic. The most famous fresco, located on the convento room ceiling, is a possible depiction of God as a mestizo, a person of mixed heritage or blood.

You can access a good San Antonio map with the Mission Trail marked clearly in red at this link. (San Antonio Metro Area.) The trolley tour has a couple of the missions on it's route as well.  This coupon for trolley tranportation and tours is one of the many coupons available on the San Antonio Visitors Bureau site. I'll be glad to print out current coupons for you when you arrive if you don't have access to a printer. Let me know in advance of your visit the ones your interested in and I'll have them ready for you upon arrival. To find this and many other available discount offers, visit their link and click on the S.A.V.E. (San Antonio Vacation Experience) section.

Note: Feel free to contact us for more travel info by posting a comment to any post on our blog or one our facebook page.
Safe and Happy travels!
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