Monday, November 24, 2014

Taos Pueblo of New Mexico

I love when I'm traveling and I visit a place for the first time and it reminds me of somewhere else halfway around the world. It makes the world seem smaller.

A few weeks ago, Fionn and I headed to northern New Mexico to see the Taos Pueblo, a 1000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage village still inhabited by the Pueblo people. The pueblo structures reminded me of what we saw in Ait Benhaddou in Morocco.

I saw pictures of the Taos Pueblo during a trip to Santa Fe a few weeks earlier and decided we had to go back. Taos seemed too pretty to miss and I'm always a sucker for a World Heritage site!

We arrived just as it opened, so apart from a few other people we had the place to ourselves. There isn't much information about the place (and the pamphlet they give you is pretty much worthless), so we decided to take a tour to learn some more.

According to our guide, most of the families in the tribe own a home in the Pueblo but don't live there year round. There are a handful of people who do (mostly young men who do it for a year to promote tribal solidarity) while the rest of the people live in modern homes just outside the boundary of the Pueblo. Did I mention that running water and electricity are forbidden in the Pueblo? 

 Our guide took us around the village and pointed out some of the oldest parts of the Pueblo that were still standing, like the original church.

After that we continued through the village and got to see some of the houses close up. It's amazing that they still make the bricks themselves, like their ancestors did centuries ago.

It was cold and pretty deserted the day we visited, but we braved the chilly temps to explore more after our tour ended and visit with some of the artists who had set up shops. 

Because people live here, there are certain parts of the Pueblo you can't visit, though they're pretty clearly marked. We were also instructed not to take pictures of anyone without their permission. The guide kept repeating that, so I get the feeling a lot of dumb tourists are disrespectful and do dumb things during their visit...

A few times a year they hold religious ceremonies and feast days which the public is invited to witness (provided they follow the rules). We missed an upcoming feast day by two days, which was a bit disappointing!

The surrounding landscape is gorgeous, and the Pueblo itself is interesting to explore, but I wish they had more info so you know what you're looking at. Maybe that's just the history nerd in me, wanting to know all about everything.

If you'd like to visit it yourself, you can find more info at the Taos Pueblo website.


  1. That looks amazing. I've always wanted to visit Taos, ever since I read "Writing Down The Bones" in high school.

    1. Sorry, I just saw this comment! I really want to check out that book now...I'm sure Taos is a pretty cool backdrop for any story