This mission was originally established in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas with the purpose of converting local Native Americas to Christianity. It was moved to San Antonio in 1731, and today stands as the best preserved of the Texas missions. An interesting fact about these missions is they were not churches but Indian towns with the church as the focus where Native Americans learned to become Spanish citizens -- a process that required becoming Catholic.
Visiting the site today, you’ll get a clear sense of what mission life was like hundreds of years ago. It’s also interesting to take in the stone building with its Spanish Colonial architecture. Notice the intricate Renaissance details, colorful Moorish designs, Romanesque attributes and gothic arches. On the grounds, you can still see the quarry from which the Native Americans collected the stone to build the mission. The preserved church is now an active parish where you can attend services and hear the choir sing beautiful Spanish songs. While much of the facade’s geometrical designs have faded, you can still view original symbolic and decorative frescos in several of the rooms. The most well-known fresco resides on the convento room ceiling, thought to be a rendering of God as a mestizo.