- The site includes five mission complexes found along the San Antonio River basin
- The most famous of them is the Alamo
The U.N.'s cultural body approved the status of the San Antonio Missions as a world heritage site Sunday.
The site includes five mission complexes found along the San Antonio River basin in southern Texas, as well as a ranch. The missions -- the most famous of which is the Alamo -- were built by Franciscan missionaries in the 18th century.
They "illustrate the Spanish Crown's efforts to colonize, evangelize and defend the northern frontier of New Spain.
"The San Antonio Missions are also an example of the interweaving of Spanish and Coahuiltecan cultures, illustrated by a variety of features, including the decorative elements of churches, which combine Catholic symbols with indigenous designs inspired by nature," UNESCO says on its website.
Nominations for heritage status have to meet the UNESCO criteria agreed by member states and include a long-term management plan before they can be scrutinized and judged. The sites are eligible for financial assistance towards preservation.
The world heritage site list is made up of more than 1,000 properties throughout the world, including the Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge and Machu Picchu in Peru.
There are 23 spots in the United States. The San Antonio Missions is the first site with world heritage status in Texas.