Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Taos, New Mexico

We booked the Taos Valley RV park which Tom Tom found extremely hard to find. We gave up and looked it up on Google Maps. The RV park is very nice and the staff are helpful in giving you suggestions of what to see in the area.

The first afternoon we just spent walking around the shops in the city centre. 

The second day we went to the Taos Peublo – the oldest living Peublo in the country. We took the walking tour with one of the local students and learnt a little about everything around us. They don’t like to give away much about their culture as it has been used against them, so they don’t even write anything down and never will. Their traditional values are guarded as sacred. The town doesn’t use electricity or running water, lights are propane.  

Some houses use wood stoves while others still use the fireplaces to cook. The adobe buildings are made from earth, straw and water, and sometimes stones or rocks. Bricks are made and baked in the sun to make them waterproof, they are then used like normal bricks to build the walls and then rendered in mud on the outside. Each September before the big ceremonies, the buildings are repaired if necessary. Inside one of the shops I was able to see the ceiling was made of small logs, which I think are covered with mud on the roof. We met at the newest building which was built in 1850, the San Geronimo Church. The original church stands in ruins further away, built in 1619. The land around it is used as a cemetery for a select few, but she wasn’t allowed to tell us how these people were selected. 

During the Spanish rule, people were buried in caskets whereas now they have reverted back to traditional method of wrapping them in a cloth and putting them in the ground. The town used to be surrounded by a ten-foot wall for security against invasion. Originally the houses did not have doors and entry was via the roof. During times of invasion the ladders were pulled in to make entry impossible. Outside the houses are drying racks for processing game and vegetables for storage. Many of the houses have mud ovens outside.
San Geronimo Church Circa 1850
outside the church
Close up of one dwelling in Taos Pueblo


Taos Peublo
The Blue Lake wilderness area was returned to them after they sued the Government at the time of Nixon. Two other lands were given back to the traditional owners during that time, but when the next Government was elected, the legislation was changed to that no more land could be claimed.

The town of Taos tried to claim their water source, so they engaged an archeologist to prove that it was theirs and won.

We also had a look at the Rio Grande Gorge  from the bridge and Taos Mountain where there was still snow. Last stop for the day was the St Francisco de Asis Church which makes a great photo op. It’s been blowing a gale all day and the clouds have taken the sun away. The rain manages a few drops, but it’s not going to end their 14 year drought.
St Francisco de Asis Church (rear)

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