NEW MEXICO: Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage Site

May 20th ~ Taos, NM

Taos Pueblo

I woke up at 3:30 this morning with a loud bang, the RV shaking violently and a rather un-lady like “Oh Shit”. The wind was howling. I got up and went to the bathroom, and Tim followed shortly thereafter. I commented that the wind was blowing like crazy. His response, “Sure is” and he promptly went right back to sleep.

My adrenaline was pumping and I was awake for way too long as the wind continued to rock Ellie Mae about.

The weather channels had been posting severe wind warnings. When you are driving an RV, heavy winds are NOT your friend.

But, I eventually drifted back to dreamland, and by 8:00 things had somewhat simmered down and we readied ourselves for the day.

Todays stop was only a short ten minutes away.

City of Taos, NM

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.

Tim at the entrance to Taos Pueblo

This is one of the oldest inhabited communities in the United States. Native American families have lived here continuously for over 1,000 years. A reservation of 95,000 acres is attached to the pueblo, and about 4,500 people live in this area. Approximately fifty live within the walls of the pueblo.

There is no running water or electricity inside the pueblo. There are gas lights inside the church. Water is obtained from Red Willow Creek which runs through the village for drinking, cooking and bathing. Outhouses are used for bathrooms.

Free tours are conducted starting at 9:00 and run every 20 minutes. Our guide was born here and is currently attending university, she mentioned that any gratuities were appreciated and helped pay for her education.

San Geronimo Church

Front of the church

This Catholic church was built in 1850. It is the second church built after the Mexican American war. No pictures were allowed inside.

Catholicism came into the community by force in 1540 from Spanish Conquistadors.

Old Church/Cemetery

Built in 1619 by forced Native labor, the church was destroyed twice; first in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt and again in 1847 in the Taos Revolt.

Cemetery with ruins of old church in the background

Adobe Homes

The pueblo is divided into North and South homes, depending upon which side of the creek you are on.

North House

The North House is the largest and reaches five stories. It is apartment like and each home is owned by a family. It is passed down from one generation to the next.

Made of adobe brick which is made from a mixture of earth, straw and water and then baked in the sun. The bricks are stacked and then layered with a mortar of adobe mixture. Upon completion, the entire outside is coated with more adobe. This exterior coat must be repeatedly built upon to protect against weather and deterioration.

Typical adobe construction

Although doors are now prevalent, originally admission was only accessible through an opening in the ceiling. A ladder would be used to climb on top of the building, and another used to climb down inside. If needed, the last person to climb up could then raise the outside ladder to prevent an attacker from entering

After our tour we wandered around the village for a short time, walking into a couple of shops to speak with the locals, and of course we took a few more pictures here and there.

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An exterior oven called a Horno is often used for baking bread, cookies, or pie. Tim and I purchased a sample of peach, cherry and blueberry pie. It was more like a small tort, but we were curious to know how it tasted. We also bought a couple cookies and a loaf of bread. Tarts were OK, probably made with canned pie filling, cookies dry but had a nice light vanilla flavor. We have not tried the bread yet.

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The wind was starting to kick up again, so we decided to see if could make it further down the road before it got too bad.

Traveling over the mountains, we both remarked that we could just as easily have been in Southern Oregon where I grew up. The trees and terrain reminded us of Howard Prairie. Tim wanted to go mushroom hunting.

Traveling over the mountains south from Taos

We did not get as far as we would have liked, but are settled in for the night at a KOA in Tucumcari, NM. We will be rejoining parts of the old Route 66 here.

Tim is glued to the TV watching the weather channel. It seems that Texas and Oklahoma are getting slammed with heavy wind, lightning, hail and tornados. YIKES!

We will just have to see how it looks in the morning. We will simply stay put for a day or so if needed.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we made the decision to check out Taos Pueblo. I was kind of getting burned out on ruins and pueblos and came close to scratching this off the list. BUT, seeing that it was a UNESCO site, I stubbornly kept it on the itinerary. I’m so glad we did.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in New Mexico, RV Life, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to NEW MEXICO: Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage Site

  1. I’m glad you’re all (RV included) safe and sound and ready to keep on adventuring! I’m also really glad to see the photos of Taos, a place I want to see once we’ve moved to Arizona. 🙂



  2. Darlene says:

    I love the Taos Pueblo. An amazing place to spend a morning. I enjoyed chatting with the artists who live and work there. I included it in my Amanda in New Mexico book. I recall it got very windy when wevwere there as well. Your pictures and write up are excellent.


  3. Ernest Holland says:

    You guys do such a great job when it comes to documenting your trips.   Thanks for keeping me on your list……………..Ernie


  4. We really enjoyed Taos Pueblo, too, as well as all the adobe around Taos. Such a romantic feel. Stay safe.


  5. paperpopups says:

    I love to read that about 50 live within the walls and that your guide was born there & attends a University.
    I am grateful for your photos and great details about these great spots in New Mexico.
    For about 17 years i visited NM, from NY, quarterly to see my Mother who had retired there. I never got to go to these NM places you have visited and sure would have loved to. I picked to spend my time with my Mother when visiting. After all – I always told myself – I came out to be with her and not spend time at the amazing sites there.


  6. You guys should know that we are just now entering the storm season. Cool and warm air collides about this time of year and you get huge storm and spouts from just about where you are to most of the way through the mid-west and east. And, on June 1, we along the coast — eastern and gulf — are entering hurricane season, While, a hurricane won’t likely come anywhere near you, it will cause more violent storms.

    That said, if it where me, I’d turn around, head back to Taos and Santa Fe and just hang out for a few days. You haven’t touched 10% of what there is to see, do and eat.


    • Ray, I love your suggestion to spend more time in Santa Fe, but we have our nieces wedding to attend in central Illinois and are due there in a week to visit family. We are keeping an eye on the weather channel for updates. So far just a lot of wind to contend with.


  7. Who knew their was so much to see and do in New Mexico. Putting this area on my travel list. Thanks for sharing your trip.


  8. Jeff Bell says:

    New Mexico has such a unique culture. Do you feel like you’ve left America at times when you are there?


  9. Tim Harlow says:

    Very interesting post. Taos is a beautiful area, but I have never been to the Pueblo. Growing up in El Paso, I spent a fair amount of time in New Mexico. I still love it. Thanks for the wonderful post.


  10. This area is so cool! I’m so jealous of you for your trip! This is another one that’s on our bucket list!


  11. Barb Falconer says:

    Loved this post!

    Sent from my iPhone



  12. Grey Travels says:

    I think I need to add this place to my list!


  13. RDoug says:

    We love Taos, and visiting Taos Pueblo as well. And for a really great treat afterward, it’s dinner at Orlando’s topped off with a slice of their frozen avocado pie.


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