Sky City…Acoma Pueblo…New Mexico!
While living in New Mexico. I discovered so many beautiful and unique places to visit.
I love New Mexico and I would like to share some of it with you, my dear readers.
Did you know there are ice caves in New Mexico? Yes, there are …and I will share that with you on another post.
Today I want to talk about Sky City, the Acoma Pueblo.
One summer, Only daughter and my two beautiful granddaughters visited me in New Mexico and I took them to see Sky City, the Acoma Pueblo.
The Pueblo is over 1200 years old and lies on a 365-foot high mesa… about 60 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The mesa gave protection for the Acoma community from the other Indian tribes, the Navajos and Apaches.
Originally, the only way up to the pueblo atop the mesa, was to walk up makeshift stairs made of rock.
In 1929, the film Red Skin asked permission to build a road to the top so their production crews could get all their equipment up top.
It is the only existing road to this day, but is only used for shuttle tour vans for the tourists.
After visiting the pueblo, one can choose to ride down in the van or walk down ….as Only daughter, granddaughters and I chose to do….and one did have to be careful walking down.
Only daughter and myself found it very interesting to learn that the San Estevan Del Rey Mission Church was built somewhere between 1629 and 1641 and all the materials were hauled up the mesa by the people.
This meant that the ponderosa pine was brought from Mount Taylor, which is over 40 miles away….and 20,000 tons of adobe, straw, mud and sandstone were moved up the Mesa to form the church walls. It took 12 years to build the church.
Inside the church, the alter is flanked by 60 foot high wood poles. The roof is adobe with wooden beams called vigas, that span the 40 foot wide ceiling!
This photo is from the cultural center at the base of the mesa and shows the church as it was in 1902.
Today, this is what the church looks like.
In 1970, the 6,000 square foot building was added to the National Register of Historic Places and in 2007 it became the 28th designated National Trust Historic Site…the only Native American site designated with that title..
The Acoma people are a simple people who farm the valleys below their dwellings.
Their livestock pens are at the base of the mesa.
They also sell Acoma pottery and jewelry to the tourists who visit their mesa.
They also bake in their outdoor ovens called a horno! (I have actually baked in a horno and it is much like a pizza oven.)
If you ever get a chance to visit Sky City, please do so. It feels like one has gone back in time to a simpler, more peaceful time.
Although I really wouldn’t want to be the one carrying all that building material up a 365 foot incline.
I have issues with carrying my groceries into the kitchen from my garage.
That is what “Captains” are for, aren’t they? 🙂
Enjoy your Monday!
Ellen Barrett says
I have loved Acoma since the first time I visted in 1969. I came back in 2013, and was again haunted by the figure of Christ
on the Cross that hangs on the wall near the altar. His face is hidden, and there’s a story behind why no one goes up below it to look diectly into his face. I have heard a guide tell it as I am sure you must have done, but I can neither remember it clearly nor find it written about anywhere. Can you tell me any more\\\\\\\\\\/
I have a few pieces but they are packed away in the attic….I have always had them setting out, but this is Seminole country down here! 🙂
thanks for stopping by.
Interesting post, Kari. The pottery looks beautiful.