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.
China, Iran, Mongolia, Singapore, Denmark, France and Turkey also earned World Heritage designations Friday and Saturday.
As UNESCO notes on its Web site, “Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage”. And she says the fact that this is the first World Heritage Site in Texas, an area which already as a strong image in Europe and Asia, is a significant plus.
“The city of San Antonio is delighted with UNESCO’s decision today and the recognition that our Spanish colonial missions are of outstanding value to the people of the world”, Mayor Ivy Taylor said from Bonn, Germany, where the announcement was made. The official designation of a site is meant to raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation and conservation. The Alamo is the site of the famous 1836 battle in which Texas settlers seized the mission from the Mexican army, but were eventually routed. Among those who fought and died there were frontiersmen Jim Bowie and David “Davy” Crockett, who had also served as a congressman from Kentucky.
In the Battle of San Jacinto, then-victorious Texas soldiers shouted, “Remember the Alamo!”
Casandra Matej, director of San Antonio’s Convention and Visitors Bureau said there was no way that would happen, and noted that the United Nations exercises no “sovereignty” over other USA World Heritage Sites, such as Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, or Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home in Virginia.
More sites are set to be granted world heritage status during the remainder of UNESCO’s annual meeting, which runs until July 8. In addition to the Alamo, the shrines include missions at Concepción, San Jose, San Juan and Espada, all in San Antonio. Worldwide, there are more than 1,000 now, including Stonehenge, England; Angkor Wat, Cambodia; the Galápagos Islands; and Crac des Chevaliers from the Crusades that was recently damaged in the Syrian civil war.