Photo by age fotostock
You haven’t truly experienced Texas until you’ve visited the hallowed grounds of the Alamo. Established in 1718 as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the building is best known as the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, a 13-day siege under Mexican president General Antonio López de Santa Anna that ultimately killed nearly all of the Texan defenders. To stroll past the limestone facade and envision the battle that played out here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For a real treat, book an after-hours tour and get the Texas landmark all to yourself as you walk in the footsteps of the fallen soldiers.
By Kristin Finan, AFAR Local Expert
The Alamo is a required attraction for first-time visitors to San Antonio. It's free to visit this iconic landmark, and the exhibits provide some interesting historic and cultural information. The gardens have some shady, quiet spots that offer a welcome respite from the tacky surrounding restaurants and shops.
By Lara Dalinsky, AFAR Local Expert
Alamo and San Antonio
The nicest place that both my wife and I have visited here in the states has to be San Antonio with its Riverwalk and the Alamo. Both are not to be missed. The Alamo is very serene, peaceful, and just an amazing place to walk around and take in its history and beautifully landscaped gardens. When you walk into the Alamo you are asked to be quiet, not to take photos inside, and be respectful of its historic significance.It is after all a shrine to those who gave their lives for freedom. The Alamo is a great place to just take in a little history and relax for a couple of hours.
Alamo at Night
Without a tourist in sight, was able to experience the Alamo Mission in moonlight and quiet. History of the place is incredible, and to think how the city has grown up around it really puts the Alamo and what happened there in perspective! Beautiful town to visit - don't miss the Riverwalk too!
I couldn’t help but whistle the Disney ballad of Davey Crockett as I walked up to the Alamo. Although once inside the tour guide hushed us and asked us to put away our cameras and have the men to remover their caps to honor the fallen soldiers. The main chapel contains memorabilia from the battle of the Alamo including Crockett’s vest and various knives, and personal items. The original flags from the battle and tribute to the fallen soldiers sent shivers down my spine as I realized I was standing on the vary grounds so many had lost their lives. The great part about this is that it is free to visitors. Private tours and language translations are also available for the far-away folks.
There are legends, and then there are the real people who make them possible. It was here in 1836 that men like Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett lost their lives defending the very idea of Texas and the concept of freedom, holding out for thirteen days against General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana and his troops against all odds. When you walk through the Alamo you may be struck at how much smaller it feels than what you'd imagined, or what you've seen in the many films and TV shows that feature the now almost mythic story. The Alamo is treated not as a museum or an attraction, but as a shrine: men are asked to take off their hats, voices are expected to be hushed. It's a powerful feeling that no movie, book or TV show can replicate. Go there and feel it yourself.
Angel of the Alamo
If it weren't for Adina Emilia de Zavala, the "Angel of the Alamo" that most famous of all shrines to Texan freedom might not exist. She was a teacher and leader of society and as a directing force of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in San Antonio, she campaigned successfully to put the buildings of the Alamo under state ownership. The preservationists' lease on the Long Barracks was about to expire and a vaudeville troupe was about to move in 1908. Adina barricaded herself inside without food and conducted a highly publicized civil disobedience siege after which the barracks were successfully brought back under the state's ownership. You can see a plaque to her memory at Alamo Plaza as well as at the Menger Hotel where she lived during her Alamo campaign. In 1955, the Texas State Legislature passed a resolution citing her for playing "a major role in preserving the Alamo and the Spanish Governor's Palace." It’s official: Adina definitely earned her Alamo Angel wings!
In the eighteenth century, Spanish Franciscans established five missions along the San Antonio River: San Juan Capistrano, Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, San Francisco de la Espada, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, and San Antonio de Valero, the oldest of the five and known today as the Alamo. The Mission San Antonio de Valero, founded in 1718, along with the Presidio of San Antonio de Béxar, formed the basis of what would become the city of San Antonio. The settlement was a pivotal stop on the Camino Real—a network of roads of connecting the cities and towns of New Spain—from Mexico City to East Texas. Today, the mission is celebrated as the site of the 1836 battle by Texas patriots in their struggle for independence from Mexico. Collectively, the five missions represent the greatest concentration of extant Spanish colonial missions in North America and were named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO this year.
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
Sun - Sat 9am - 5:30pm