Thursday, February 24, 2011

San Antonio, Texas

Part of the River Walk is pictured above. John and I have been to San Antonio several times now and the River Walk is always a destination for us in the city. It is a fun place both for walking and dining. The landscaped riverbanks are bordered by nightspots,restaurants as well as handicraft shops. Before stopping at the River Walk for lunch, however, we paid a visit to the Alamo. That is another place we have been to before. Interestingly enough, we were there on the first day of the siege of the Alamo, February 23. It happened in 1835. In 13 days the Mexican army subdued rebellious Texans who fought behind the walls of the old mission fort. The fort was built in 1718 and originally called San Antonio de Valero. When the Spanish cavalry took the fort over in 1803 they named the fort Pueblo del Alamo (possibly naming it for the many cottonwoods which lined the nearby San Antonio River). The Alamo was meant to be a mission originally;   the battle of the Alamo took place in the church on the mission grounds and that building, plus the barracks of the fort, are the only buildings left standing. While we were there a press conference was being set up in front of the Alamo and a singer was entertaining the crowd with the Texas songs of George Strait.
There are a total of four mission sites in San Antonio. Mission San Jose is in the process of restoration so we drove on to the Mission de la Conception which was relocated to its present location in 1731. This is a massive church with twin towers and a dome built by the Franciscans. It is the oldest unrestored stone church in the country. Reportedly it is known for its great acoustics as well as for its wall art.
Wall art, or frescoing, was a skill taught to the mission Indians partly as a tool to teach them Catholicism, but also the frescoes served to highlight architectural features as well as to hide construction flaws.

No comments:

Post a Comment