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Originally the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo is by far the most famous historical site in Texas, playing a significant role in Texas' quest for independence from Mexico. Under the command of Col. William Travis, 189 Texan soldiers bravely defended this fort for 13 days before finally succumbing to Santa Anna's massive Mexican army in early 1836. The chapel and the Long Barrack are all that remains of the fort. Saved from civilian apathy by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the mission is now a museum containing relics from the era. Narrated tours are available.
The city's upstart addition to the art and museum scene, the San Antonio Art League Museum, makes its home in a restored carriage house in the historic area of King William, just south of downtown. The museum's permanent collection of early Texas and regional art is not to be missed. Touring exhibits are special, too, with recent showings featuring Kate Ritson, Vincent Valdez and Beat Hallermann. Admission is free and donations are much appreciated.
The San Antonio Holocaust Memorial Museum is made up of several exhibits intended to educate the public on the dangers of prejudice. The first exhibit displays the history of the Nazi era, and includes, video, print propaganda disseminated by the Nazis, photographs, and other documents. The second exhibit traces America's response to the Holocaust, including the stories of survivors who settled in San Antonio. Finally, there's an outdoor contemplative area that memorializes those who died in the Holocaust. Admission is free and tours are available through appointment.