Cultural Travel, Road Trip, Santa Fe, Taos, UNESCO WHS

Santa Fe & Taos, New Mexico – Unique Adobe Architecture

Our Colorado and New Mexico road trip’s next destination was Santa Fe,  America’s oldest capital city.

View of the Cross of Martyrs

State Capitol Building

Santa Fe’s unique architecture is one of the reasons it is popular with visitors.  It has a distinctive architectural style all its own.  No other city in the country has so many low-slung, earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, which consist of a mixture of sun-dried earth and straw. The city is also surrounded by majestic and tall mountains, a stunning backdrop for the gentle slopes of the adobe walls.

Santa Fe Plaza

Palace of the Governors

New Mexico History Museum

Shops and galleries in historical district

Buffalo Thunder Casino

We toured the city historical districts, checking out the Loretto Chapel, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, Palace of the Governors, the New Mexico State Capital, and the Santa Fe Plaza. As we strolled around, it was clear that this city thrives on its art and culture.   The streets were bursting with so many exquisite art gallery, unique jewelry shops, pottery and handicraft stores.   The colorful arts and crafts blending so well with the warm adobe architecture was a feast for the senses. Santa Fe also has many resorts casinos.  They range from small basic casinos to luxury resorts offering gaming, spa experience, luxury accommodations, performances and fine dining. We decided to check out the Buffalo Thunder Casino for lunch because we noticed  the resort complex is constructed in the adobe architectural style.

Tao Pueblo, UNESCO site

Santa Fe’s historic adobe architecture evolved from early Native American dwellings that impressed the Spanish when they first arrived in the region in the 16th century. They found Pueblo People in the Rio Grande Valley living in communal houses with hundreds of rooms, often four or five stories high, accommodating thousands of people. It was only fitting that the next two places we visited were the source of the unique architecture that prevailed in Santa Fe today.

Bandelier National Monument – ancient dwelling

Cave dwellings

We visited the Bandelier National Monument outside of Sante Fe to learn about the very earliest ancestral Pueblo people. Archaeologists say these ancestral people have lived in the Southwest over 10,000 years.  They lived in caves of the sandstone mountains, hunted and gathered for living, and evolved to farming, weaving and pottery making. They hunted deers, rabbits, other mammals, and birds. They grew maize (corn), beans, and squash. Cotton was cultivated and woven into garments. They made winter blankets by weaving yucca-fibre strings twisted with turkey feathers or strips of rabbit skin. Further north, we visited Taos Pueblo,  one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the Americas, and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Most inhabitants of the pueblo now live in modern housing on the outskirts of the reservation, but there are still some who live in the historic village and keep the traditional ways alive.It was an excellent way to learn about history.  The tribe is friendly and helpful in sharing their culture and histories.  Tour guides were available but you can also wander on your own.  There were traditional food for sale and much excellent quality artisan handiwork on displayed for sale.



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