The oldest continuously operating religious community in Texas, San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral was constructed between 1738 and 1749. In fact, the dome of the original church was the point from which all mileage in Texas was measured in the 1700s. The cathedral is well-maintained, and mass still goes on daily so make sure to be respectful when entering. One major attraction inside the sacred space is the Alamo Coffin, located near the church entrance, which is believed to hold the remains of the men who lost their lives at the Alamo. The cathedral played a part in the battle, as it was President-General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s headquarters during the siege of the Alamo, and from where he sent a terrifying message. Instead of flying the tri-color Mexican flag from the church’s belfry he flew a blood-red flag, letting the defenders of the Alamo know he would kill them even if they surrendered.
Inside the church there are many beautiful points of interest, for example, the gold gilded alter, intricate stained glass windows and dramatic columns and archways. Outside, visitors can admire the mix of Gothic and American Colonial architecture.
As the church is not only beautiful and sacred but also historical, visiting the museum next to the gift shop can help enlighten you on its heritage. Additionally, the church offers both self-guided and group tours. You can either purchase a guidebook at the gift shop explaining the highlights and artwork of the cathedral or take a 45-minute guided tour with a knowledgeable docent.