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Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo

As you pull into the parking lot at Mission San Jose, the mission is mostly obscured from view and you mainly see the massively proportioned mission walls, which serve as a very tangible reminder that the missions were constructed to be defensible. Located as they were on the outer fringes of the Spanish Empire to the south, they were the tools used to gain a foothold in the expansion toward the north. 

Outer walls at Mission San Jose

Outer walls at Mission San Jose

The walls that surround the mission today were rebuilt in the 1930s, as were many of the structures. The church itself was mainly intact, although the dome and tower had collapsed.

One of several entrance gates at Mission San Jose.

One of several entrance gates at Mission San Jose.

After seeing Mission Espada and Mission San Juan, I was completely unprepared for the sheer scale of San Jose! I felt I was able to catch my first glimpse of life as it would have looked to the residents and also felt a sense of how comforting the view of those walls must have been to everyone living there.

View of the Church from the outer perimeter.

View of the Church from the outer perimeter.

At this mission, you have the opportunity to walk into living quarters built into the enclosing walls and to admire the high ceilings in the church. These missions must have seemed such an anomaly, located on the frontier and surrounded by native people with priorities so very different from the Spanish.

Church of Mission San Jose

Church of Mission San Jose

Visitors to San Antonio should ideally take the time to visit all five of the missions. Despite their similarities, it’s difficult to appreciate the historical role they played until you’ve experienced every one of their personalities. If, however, you only have time for one, I would recommend Mission San Jose.

The church at Mission San Jose with one of the entrance gates in the background.

The church at Mission San Jose with one of the entrance gates in the background.

Beautiful stone carvings over the front of the church.

Beautiful stone carvings over the front of the church.

Interior of the church at Mission San Jose.

Interior of the church at Mission San Jose.

Colorful accents.

Colorful accents.

One of a number of homes built into the defensive wall.

One of a number of homes built into the defensive wall.

Very solid walls.

Very solid walls.

One of several entrance gates.

One of several entrance gates.

Corner rooms intended for defense of the mission.

Corner rooms intended for defense of the mission.

Always Look Up.

Always Look Up.

Conroe

Conroe