Sunday, August 03, 2008

San Antonio, site of the Battle of Alamo

The last two days I have been travelling close to the southern tip of Texas state close to the US-Mexican riverine border. This is one of the lesser developed cities in this country. By lesser developed I don't mean there is any lack in infrastructure or facilities, this city is equipped with everything one could ask for. An international airport; millions of sq ft of shopping malls, parks, and leisure spaces; several old and new religious shrines; tourist hang outs; hotels catering to every taste and flavour. The only thing that is unlike Dallas in this city is the absence of large roads, but then downtown Dallas also has narrow roads.

The mainstay of the economy appears to be tourism on the surface, the city was formed in late 16th century by the Sapnish who came travelled from Mexico making a headway into north America. The city is set around the river San Antonio, which was perhaps the sole source of drinking water few centuries ago, now the river has shrunk to a few feet wide and has become the venue of cafes, shopping and other commerical activities. It is basically a tourist attraction and a place to walk by the river, there are 8 miles long walking area along the green algae-filled river. One could even take a boat ride along the historic parts of the city along the river.

Visitors enjoying a boat ride in river walk area in San Antonio

The Battle of the Alamo was fought in February and March 1836 here and was the decisive part of the Texas Revolution. Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna wanted to unify Mexico by capturing independent Texas after an insurgent army of Texan settlers and adventurers from the United States had driven out all Mexican troops the previous year. Mexican forces began a siege of the Texian forces garrisoned at the Alamo Mission on Tuesday, February 23.

For the next twelve days, Mexican cannons advanced slowly to positions nearer the Alamo walls, while Texian soldiers worked to improve their defenses. Alamo co-commander William Travis sent numerous letters to the acting Texas government, the remaining Texas army under James Fannin, and various Texas communities, asking for reinforcements, provisions, and ammunition.

I walked around San Antonio which is a happening place now, a la Goa in India but without the beach and mountains. This is full of shops, malls, music, food, bars etc. Tourists enjoy all these facilities and return to their homes. Accessibility is a great feature here, the city has its own international airport which kinda makes it easy to visit even from other countries. The city has some beautiful architecture, churches, walkways and a few parks. Here are some pictures of my travels.

Gazebo built by Mexican government in a park in San Antonio

Old Market square, San Antonio

Statue in the park in San Antonio

Old Church - San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio

San Antonio district court

River San Antonio around which the river walk shopping area has been created

San Antonio is known for its Christian missions.. there are several old churches here

Another old church in San Antonio

Modern art, sculpture installed in one of the main intersections

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