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King, Queen of Spain Visit 300-Year-Old San Antonio Mission San José

Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia visited San Antonio Sunday to celebrate the city's tricentennial and its roots as a Spanish colonial village.

The royal couple attended a welcoming ceremony hosted by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and other city officials at the Spanish Governor's Palace before touring Mission San José, a National Historic Site founded in 1720 on the banks of the San Antonio River, several miles to the south of the Alamo, and then visiting a historical exhibit.

An evening dinner with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was also planned. On Monday, the royal couple was expected to visit the tricentennial exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

On Tuesday, the king and queen will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the White House.

What became San Antonio originally was founded as Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) on May 1, 1718, by Spanish Franciscan missionaries backed by the Spanish monarchy and government during the colonization of New Spain.

According to the National Park Service, Mission San José, was named for Saint Joseph and the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo, the governor of the Province of Coahuila and Texas at the time. After more than 60 years, "imposing complex of stone walls, bastions, granary, and magnificent church was completed by 1782" and was largely impregnable to raids. The mission fell into disrepair, but was restored as a WPA project in the 1930s. It was named a State Historic Site in 1941 and a National Historic Site later that same year.

Mission San José is one of five San Antonio missions that comprise the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Texas. The other sites are Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission Espada and Mission Valero (the Alamo).

Mission San José, still an active parish, holds public mass on Sundays.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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