Although tourists probably think of the Alamo as the centerpiece of downtown San Antonio, historians consider the heart of the city this handsome Spanish cathedral, portions of it dating back to 1738–1759 when it was first built by Canary Island settlers. Overlooking the town’s historic Main Plaza, San Fernando Cathedral was completed in 1749, and the original parts of the structure make it the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the United States and the oldest parish church in Texas. Between 1840 and 1873, the church fell into disrepair until it was rebuilt and consecrated in October 1873. Alamo defender James “Jim” Bowie married his wife, Ursula, at the cathedral in 1831, before he was killed during the 1836 siege of the Alamo. The cathedral has undergone major renovations over the centuries, including the addition of a 24-foot-high gilded altarpiece or retablo. It’s the mother church of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the seat of its archbishop, and a very active parish, with weekend Masses, weddings, and funerals, as well as concerts and other special events, held regularly. Note: Four nights a week, the spectacular San Antonio—The Saga, a video collage by French artist Xavier de Richemont, is projected on the church facade.