The San Fernando Cathedral (formerly the Iglesia in the town planning for what was once called San Fernando De Bexar) in San Antonio was constructed between the years of 1738 and 1755. It’s one of the oldest remaining operating cathedrals in North America and is located on Main Plaza (Plaza De Las Islas) – one of only four such plazas that are left in America, and the only one that has a cathedral. Although this alone makes it a most worthwhile stop on anyone’s itinerary, on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the San Fernando Cathedral in the Texas Hill Country becomes the canvas for renowned French artist Xavier de Richemont’s “San Antonio | The Saga” – a brilliant light installation with visual and musical art accompaniment, transforming the façade of the cathedral into an even more magnificent work of art.
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‘San Antonio | The Saga’ Breathes New Life Into Main Plaza and What Was Once the Heart of San Antonio
Telling the story of Texas, de Richemont’s projection onto the cathedral of custom choreographed art and music into the composition of San Antonio’s history and development has been described as astonishing, as well as awe-inspiring. With public installations established in France, Spain, Germany, Morocco, Canada, and Mexico this was his first of its kind in the US, commanding attention at each performance and welcoming visitors from around the world to experience this historic San Antonio destination.
Photo: Facebook/Erik Voss
Once recognized as the spiritual center, government hub, and social epicenter of the city, Main Plaza began to lose its significance late in the nineteenth century with the emergence of trolleys and railroads shifting people’s living, working, and shopping destinations. Later accentuated by the invention of the automobile, the city’s size grew, and proportionately, Main Plaza shrank with the widening of Market Street and the construction of a new county courthouse. And although citizens protested such significant changes, additional taller buildings were constructed around the plaza and its wide-open nature was transformed, leaving the property more of a park than the proud city center it once was. Since then, the plaza itself has been the center of various revitalization efforts, including the launching of a plan in 2006 to knit together the plaza, the San Fernando Cathedral, the courthouse, and the river, recreating its pedestrian character and re-engaging citizens to attend and invest time in Main Plaza.