Community Quest for World Heritage Status

Bexar County is providing leadership and is a partner in the quest for designation of the Missions of San Antonio as a World Heritage Site. As a land owner within the boundary of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and because of the direct benefit of the San Antonio River ecosystem, the County is committed to pursuing the designation.


The county has funded various aspects of the process of preparation of the dossier to be submitted to UNESCO for its consideration of the designation, and serves on the World Heritage Advisory Committee. Additionally, the county provided funds for and directed an Economic Impact Study of the designation, should the application be successful.


On July 5, 2015, the Missions of San Antonio were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site!

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World Heritage Nominee

The San Antonio Franciscan Missions have been nominated for a World Heritage site in honor of their historical importance.

The Franciscan missions of San Antonio are a remarkable concentration of surviving structures that are a spectacular representation of the Spanish colonial influence in the New World. The religious, economic, and technological system instituted by the friars transformed a nomadic aboriginal society into a settled one, which in turn became the basis of an ethnically diverse society that continues to influence what is today a major city.

Impact Study

In 2013, the Harbinger Consulting Group completed a study to evaluate potential economic impacts of World Heritage Site designation for the five Spanish missions in San Antonio. Funded by the Bexar County Commissioners Court and executed under the office of County Manager David Smith through the Facilities and Parks Department, the study built on a 2011 economic impact analysis of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park that Harbinger completed in collaboration with the University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Business and Economic Research. There are two documents that cover the results of the study: