Mission sights in North America
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The folks who valiantly fought for Texas' independence from Mexico would never have imagined the Alamo as it is today, surrounded by tacky tourist attractions and having its picture taken every 17 seconds or so by people exclaiming how much smaller it looks in real life. But it's more than just a photo op. Go on in and find out why the story of the Alamo can rouse a Texan's sense of state pride like few other things. You might notice some of the visitors getting downright dewy-eyed at the description of how a few hundred revolutionaries died defending the fort against thousands of Mexican troops.
The dazzling white towers of this mission rise from the dusty desert floor 8 miles south of Tucson – a mesmerizing mirage just off I-19 that brings an otherworldly glow to the scrubby landscape surrounding it. Nicknamed 'White Dove of the Desert,' the original mission was founded by Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1700 but was mostly destroyed in the Pima uprising of 1751. Its successor was gracefully rebuilt in the late 1700s in a harmonious blend of Moorish, Byzantine and Mexican Renaissance styles. Carefully restored in the 1990s with the help of experts from the Vatican and still religiously active, it's one of the best-preserved and most beautiful Spanish…