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ranchos de taos plaza

A tiny village four miles south of Taos on State Highway 68 (between mile markers 41 & 42), Ranchos de Taos is home to the San Francisco de Asis Church (or the Ranchos Church) a National Historic Landmark. The church has been an inspiration for many great artists who’ve left us with a palpable sense of the people places and events of the past and present. The heavy buttresses have been portrayed in all media since the early 20th Century, most famously by Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, and Paul Strand. The ever changing light has made capturing the back of this structure a challenge to artists/photographers for over a century.

The Plaza was here before the church was built; in the mid-1700s it was the most populated community in the vicinity. Most of the buildings in the old plaza contain parts of the original structure, some of these buildings are over 300 years old. Map of Ranchos de TaosThis historic plaza was built on top of an abandoned Native American Village. The front of the Church faces away from the road revealing it’s famous backside to travelers as they arrive to Taos. This is not meant to confuse visitors it merely faces the original road in to Taos a branch of the Old Santa Fe Trail. Into the 1920’s the area was known as the “Breadbasket of the Southwest” providing wheat and flour for the entire region.

Each spring, the Church is re-plastered with a mixture of mud and straw by the local parishioners. Once again work will begin at the beginning of June with locals and visitors joining in for the “enjarre”, or re-mud.

Inside the parish office resides “The Shadow of the Cross” or “the Mystery Painting” by Henry Ault. A Small fee is charged and you will also be shown a short video about the Church. These can be viewed
Mon.-Fri. 10AM-4PM.
San Francisco de Asis Church visiting hours 9-4 Mon.-Sat. 575-751-0518
Sunday Mass Service 8AM Spanish, 11AM

SHOPPING IN RANCHOS DE TAOS
Ranchos de Taos Plaza has some wonderful stores and galleries. You will find antiques, curios, jewelry, pueblo pottery, navajo weavings, traditional drums and even Mexican painted tile.
CHIMAYO TRADING DEL NORTE
Offering a variety of Southwestern Arts, from Casas Grandes Matta Ortiz pottery to finely crafted contemporary turquoise jewelry by Gabe Abrums. A family business for over 75 years.
RB RAVENS GALLERY
Specializing in Pre-1930’s Navajo Textiles, American Indian art, Hopi Kachina Dolls, Pueblo Pottery, all of the finest quality, each with a place in history.
FRANCIS CHURCH GIFT SHOP
The Church gift shop carries devotional items, Holy Cards & books. This shop also features crosses, retablos, bultos, along with other arts & crafts made by the parishioners of San Francisco de Asis Church.
TWO GRACES PLAZA GALLERY
Taos’ most appealing and exceedingly affordable art gallery. Featuring local contemporary art by Holly Sievers & Robert Cafazzo. A shop full of carefully selected and curated items for all tastes.
VARGAS TILE
Retail distributors of Mexican tile specializing in handpainted Talavera tile with matching trim, ceramic sinks and accessories. Also offering a large selection of listellos and various lines of both domestic and Italian tiles.
OTHER SHOPS IN RANCHOS DE TAOS
Other shops and galleries include Ranchos Antique Furniture, Wild West Trading Company (guns & accessories), Taos Drum Outlet Factory, Mary Dolph Wood, artist studio.
LANDMARK SITES
Ranchos de Taos is home to one to one of the most photographed churches in New Mexico. San Francisco de Asis is a designated National Historical Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site.
SAN FRANCISCO DE ASIS CHURCH
San Francisco de Asis Church is a still-active 18th-century parish that, thanks to Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe, became a modern art icon—and a quintessential Taos landmark. It’s one of New Mexico’s most photographed churches.
PLACES TO EAT & DRINK
Ranchos de Taos has some fabulous places to Eat & Drink. Here you will find the top New Mexican Restaurant on Trip adviser, a historic dance hall beautifully restored into a restaurant and wine bar and a wonderful Italian Café . When visiting the Landmark sites here plan to stay and dine.
THE RANCHOS PLAZA GRILL
#1 on Trip Advisor! Serves Northern New Mexico and American Cuisine in a charming relaxed setting. Best patio dining in Taos!
TRADING POST CAFé
Amidst vigas, wrought iron furniture, and local art, you can watch chefs prepare flavorful dishes from the open-air kitchen. Three dining rooms, outdoor patio. Italian favorites, American classics, and daily specials. Wi-Fi available.
OTHER RESTAURANTS IN RANCHOS DE TAOS
Other dining options in Ranchos de Taos include Oh my Garden Cafe and Market and Old Martinas Hall.
EVENTS IN RANCHOS DE TAOS
The annual mudding of the church is usually done in June before the summer rains and after the temperature has warmed up allowing the mud to dry hard. The dirt is trucked in from a secret nearby location and the same source is used every year so the color of the church stays the same. Parishioners, locals and tourists all join in to help each year.
THE MUDDING OF THE CHURCH
Each spring, the Church is re-plastered with a mixture of mud and straw by the local parishioners. Once again work will begin at the beginning of June with locals and visitors joining in for the “enjarre”, or re-mud.
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