A Toast to Taos

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

It’s one of the first things we noticed when traveling overseas: how much older the rest of the world appears. From Medieval castles and Roman ruins to Egyptian Pyramids, the marks of ancient civilization are everywhere. It’s something the “New World” noticeably lacks.

The U.S. has so few ancient relics it’s easy to forget that our history predates the Mayflower. Fortunately there are still some places that remember.

Pueblos de Taos, New Mexico, stands today much as it has since the Middle Ages. One of only 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the U.S., the village is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the country; dating back over 1,000 years. Some 150 Tiwa Indians still reside in the multistoried adobe buildings, maintaining and preserving them in traditional fashion over the centuries.

Ground floor entrances to the Hlauuma (north house, seen above) are a relatively new addition. Prior to the 1900’s, residents climbed ladders to the second story to access the building. In the event of attack, the ladders could be raised like drawbridges allowing residents to take shelter behind the three foot thick adobe walls. Even today, “do not enter” signs are posted to remind curious tourists not to wander into occupied living spaces.

Wood-fired, outdoor, “horno” ovens dimple the village streets. This one is just getting warmed up.

For centuries the swift flowing Red Willow Creek that runs through the village center and abundant trade networks sustained Taos. In modern times, tourism dominates its economy. So few of these wonderful places remain, we were glad to swing by and lend our support; noshing on some delicious horno baked bread along the way.

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6 Comments on “A Toast to Taos”

  1. customtripplanning January 4, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    I visited Taos the first time in 1963 and again 5 years ago. The timeless quality shows in the photos…they are essentially the same.


  2. earthriderjudyberman January 4, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Just beautiful.


  3. Kristina January 4, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    What a great experience! 🙂 lovely architecture!!!


  4. Debra Kolkka January 5, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    What an amazing place. I would love to go there.


  5. Cabbie Notes January 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    It’s great to see the ancient sites in the “New World,” a reminder that this continent isn’t as new as we think it is.



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