Exploring Taos Pueblo - a World Cultural Heritage in North America

Located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico, the Taos Pueblo ruins now have about 150 living Indians.

Taos Pueblo or Pueblo de Taos, located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, was built in the 13-14 century as one of the settlements in the valleys of the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Taos Pueblo is one of the few relics that still exists today. 


Taos Pueblo is an architectural complex of the pre-Spanish Pueblo civilization, which includes ritual houses and buildings, demonstrating the long culture of a group of Indians today. Along with longevity, Taos Pueblo is a testament to an important period in urban history, community and cultural life, development in this area. 


In Taos Pueblo, houses are built of mud mixed with straw, the material brings coolness in the summer and warmth in winter. Walls and roofs are 35 - 70 cm thick, which are strong enough to withstand the changing weather all year round. The ceiling is supported by cedarwood bars, extremely solid. This type of wood beam is stylized in architecture and construction in New Mexico, from Santa Fe to Las Cruces and Albuquerque. When the houses are finished, they will be covered by a plaster layer outside, with an earthen stove for cooking or baking. 


The ancient civilization of the Pueblo Indians was very glorious. This is evident through architecture in Taos Pueblo. At the village gate, there is an earthen church and a graveyard. The central block is usually built as a very solid citadel. A special feature is that although it is made mainly of mud and straw, the Indians can still build up many multi-story buildings.


Taos Pueblo is about 1km from Taos town. The Taos town was built in 1615 after the Spanish imperial attack to capture the Pueblo Indian villages. After a period of oppression, the Indians rebelled against the Spaniards and left the Taos town. Until now, only about 150 Taos Indians still live and manage this Taos Pueblo complex. This area is also rarely visited by tourists because it is very difficult to visit on their own. If visitors want to learn about the unique cultural identities of this land, they must go with an experienced guide. 


In 1992, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Taos Pueblo as a World Cultural Heritage. With historical values, Pueblo de Taos represents the only traditional, pre-Spanish community culture left in North America. This is indeed an interesting destination for travelers who love to explore human history. 

By: Olivia Swift

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