San Antonio – A major opportunity stands before the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. In 2014, the Missions of San Antonio will be considered for a World Heritage designation by the United Nations. By gaining World Heritage status would propel the Missions of San Antonio to the same level of world acknowledgement as the Pyramids of Egypt, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the United States’ Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon and Redwood National Parks. Designation of the San Antonio Missions as a World Heritage site would be a first in the State of Texas and only the 23rd designation in the United States.
San Antonio and Bexar County will be celebrating “World Heritage Week” from April 27-May 4. While there will be many activities throughout the week, the Missions of San Antonio World Heritage Advisory Committee is looking to enlist 25,000 supporters during the week.
“We have set up a very easy to fill out form on our Missions of San Antonio website where everyone can come to sign in as a supporter of this World Heritage application,” said Susan Snow, World Heritage Coordinator, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. “That entire list of supporters will be included in our final application to the United Nations on behalf of the five Missions. We want the World Heritage selection committee to know that our entire community understands the importance of each Mission to our community, as well as the cultural richness the Missions bring to this part of the world.”
The list of World Heritage Week activities include:
– School activities that encourage interaction with the Missions of San Antonio website
– Bike ride with County Judge Nelson Wolff along the Missions trail
– Proclamation by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff to kick-off World Heritage Week
– Art contest for fine arts painters, photographers and digital designers
– Specially-guided tours of each of the Missions (including the Alamo) by National Park Service and Alamo staff
– Mexican art show and sale
– San José Missionfest at Mission San José (an official Fiesta event)
– Oral History, Knowledge, and Memory along the Mission Reach lecture to close History and Genealogy Day
Specific dates and times for each activity can be found at: www.missionsofsanantonio.org/world-heritage-week
“While we know that the Missions of San Antonio deserve to be recognized as a World Heritage site, that designation will also serve to increase the number of visitors to our community and provide a significant economic boost from the cultural tourism development,” Snow explained. “Our goal for the week is to create greater awareness about this opportunity for San Antonio/Bexar County, and most importantly, a substantial amount of supporters for the application process. Visiting the website, signing in as a supporter and keeping up to date with World Heritage activities over the next 10 months is what we’re asking people to do. That simple effort of signing up as a supporter will go a long way in demonstrating our community’s commitment to preserving our beautiful Missions for all time.”
The Missions of San Antonio include Missions San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo), Missions Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada, and their extant lands and structures. Management of the missions is through the National Park Service, the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Texas General Land Office.