The Alamo is a historical site with a special place in the heart of many Texans. In 1836, The Alamo was the site of a 13-day siege during the Texas Revolution. Known today as the Battle of the Alamo, the brave stand put up by the Texian soldiers who defended the then-fortress went down in history. And for this reason, The Alamo is today known as the Shrine of Texas Liberty.

The site, a former Spanish mission built in 1718, is now a major landmark in San Antonio and The Alamo welcomes over 4 million visitors each year. With a museum, various permanent exhibitions and a gift shop, The Alamo is one of San Antonio’s top tourist attractions.

The Alamo in San Antonio - one of the highlights of 10 Best Things to Do in San Antonio and 10 Travel Mistakes to Avoid in San Antonio (Read all about San Antonio here)

History of The Alamo

One of the first Spanish missions to be built in Texas, The Alamo was constructed in 1716 as a site for the re-education of Native Americans after their conversion to Catholicism. By the end of the century, the site was secularised and shortly thereafter abandoned before it fell into the hands of a group of Spanish soldiers during the country’s occupation of Texas.

During the Texas Revolution, Mexican forces surrendered The Alamo to the Texian Army in 1835. Then, a small number of Texian soldiers occupied the fort for several months before they were defeated at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Soon after, the Mexican Army retreated from Texas, partially destroying The Alamo in the process.

Although the Texian forces were defeated at The Alamo, their bravery in the face of adversity and forces much larger than their own meant they would go down in history as symbols of Texan liberty.

What are the highlights of The Alamo?

As a key historical site in the state of Texas, The Alamo is awash with highlights for the visitor. Whether buildings, artefacts, exhibitions or gardens, this legendary attraction is a diverse place to visit.

Without a doubt, the central element of The Alamo is the Alamo Church, where the last of the site’s defenders holed themselves up during the infamous battle. The instantly recognisable Spanish colonial facade has become a Texas and San Antonio icon and today it is the most photographed area of The Alamo. Inside, tours focus on the unique structure of the church while the wealth of history is laid out helpfully in an informative series of placards in both English and Spanish.

Elsewhere, the Long Barrack is the oldest building on the Alamo site, dating back to 1716 and the site's origins as the Mission San Antonio de Valero.

Constructed as a 2-storey convent, this area is where most members of the Texian garrison withdrew during the battle of 1836 and it was here that they made their heroic last stand against the Mexican soldiers.

Good to know about The Alamo in San Antonio

Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, The Alamo is one of the easier historical landmarks to visit. In fact, the area surrounding the landmark is known as the Alamo Plaza Historical District and is home to many famous heritage buildings.

Among these are the Menger Hotel, which dates back to 1857, the Dullnig Building (1883), Scholz Palm Building (1891) and Crockett Hotel (1909). Allowing time to stroll around the plaza and take in the area’s historic architecture is recommended for those seeking a comprehensive impression of San Antonio’s heritage.

The Alamo in San Antonio

Location: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA

Open: May–September: daily from 9 am to 7 pm. September–May: daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm

Phone: +1-210-225-1391

James Connolly | Guest Writer