Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-story adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over a 1,000 years. The Pueblo is 3 miles northeast of Taos Plaza.
Archaeologists say that ancestors of the Taos Indians lived in this valley long before Columbus discovered America and hundreds of years before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. Ancient ruins in the Taos Valley indicate our people lived here nearly 1000 years ago. The main part of the present buildings were most likely constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. The appeared much as they do today when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola. The two structures called Hlauuma (north house) and Hlaukwima (south house) are said to be of similar age. They are considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the USA.
The Pueblo is made entirely of adobe -- earth mixed with water and straw, then either poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks. The walls are frequently several feet thick. The roofs of each of the five stories are supported by vigas -- large timbers hauled down from the mountain forests. Smaller pieces of wood -- pine or aspen latillas -- are placed side-by-side on top of the vigas; the whole roof is covered with packed dirt. The outside surfaces of the Pueblo are continuously maintained by replastering with think layers of mud. Interior walls are carefully coated with thin washes of white earth to keep them clean and bright. The Pueblo is actually many individual homes, built side-by-side and in layers, with common walls but no connecting doorways. In earlier days there were no doors or windows and entry was gained only from the top.
The pueblo is open to visitors from 8:00am to 4:30pm, April through October and 8:00am through 4:00pm, November through February, except when tribal rituals require a closing. Late winter to early spring the Pueblo closes for about ten weeks - 2014 dates are MARCH 6 THROUGH APRIL 27. Call ahead if you are traveling at that time: 575-758-1028.
Jan. 1, Turtle Dance
Jan. 6, Deer or Buffalo Dance
Feb - Mar (approx.), Spring Closure
May 3, Santa Cruz Feast Day, Foot Races
June 13, San Antonio Feast Day, Corn Dance
June 24, San Juan Day, Corn Dance
July (second weekend), Annual Taos Pueblo Pow Wow
July 25, Santiago Day, Corn Dance
July 26, Santa Ana Day, Corn Dance
Last week of August, Closed
Sept. 29, San Geronimo Eve Vespers
Sept. 30, San Geronimo Day Feast Day
Dec. 24, Procession of the Blessed Mother
Dec. 25, Deer or Matachines Dance
(All dates are approximate; check TaosPueblo.com for current information.)
When at Taos Pueblo, please abide by the following rules:
- Pay the appropriate fee for each camera you carry into the Pueblo area.
- Respect the "restricted area" signs as they protect the privacy of our residents and the sites of our native religious practices.
- Do not enter doors that are not clearly marked as curio shops. Each home is privately owned and occupied by a family and is not a museum display to be inspected with curiosity.
- Please do not photograph members of our tribe without first asking permission.
- Absolutely no photography in San Geronimo Chapel.
- Do not enter the walls surrounding the ruins of the old church and our cemetery.
- Do not wade in our river; it is our sole source of drinking water.
For more information, call 575-758-1028. Learn more at Taos Pueblo's website.
Photo of Taos Pueblo by Gak Stonn