The route from Ojo Caliente to Taos is quite picturesque and, for those not entirely comfortable with heights, it also feels a bit treacherous. Getting there requires crossing the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which has a convenient viewing area for sights like this:
Of course, the more you walk along what we are sure is a perfectly secure bridge, the more your legs start to tremble,
And the less you want to look down over the edge.
Getting back on solid ground never felt so good, even if it was completely snow covered and cold solid ground.
Hopping back in the car, we were back on our way to Taos Pueblo.
Home of the Red Willow People, Taos Pueblo is known to have inspired southwestern architecture.
Near the entrance is St. Jerome Church. Built in 1850, the church is named after the pueblos’ patron saint.
The church that stands now is the third version of the building. It was originally built in 1619 near where the current church stands. The original church was destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, when the tribe successfully removed a large group of foreign Spanish inhabitants. It was rebuilt in 1692, after the Spanish re-conquest, then, in 1847, it was attacked by the U.S. Army during the war with Mexico. The bell tower remained, and the former courtyard was transformed into a place of burial for all the men, women, and children that died in the 1847 attack.
Each doorway in the various buildings is a privately owned dwelling. There are two larger structures – the North House (Hlaumma) and the South House (Hlaukwima, shown below). While much of the pueblo is single story buildings, the North House and South House are 3 to 5 stories, with access to the higher stories being by ladder.
Some of the individual residents have converted their dwellings into shops,
Many of which sell various types of arts and crafts made by the people of Taos.
And within the Pueblo Plaza are adobe mounds called hornos that are used to bake bread. Within these domes, a fire is built with cedar wood, then as the wood burns to ash, it’s removed and bread is placed inside to cook. The finished product is available as a souvenir to visitors.
“We have lived upon this land since days beyond history’s record, for past any living memory, deep into the time of legend. The story of my people and the story of this place are one single story. No man can think of us without thinking of this place. We are always joined together.”
~ Tribal Manifesto