Pueblo of Acoma, NM
The highlight of my trip to New Mexico was Acoma Sky City. This community, on top of a mesa, has been continuously occupied since the 13th century. It was truly remarkable! The setting is so beautiful and it is so interesting to imagine how people lived, farmed and hunted for hundreds upon hundreds of years.
A visit starts at the Sky City Cultural Center. It is about a 15-minute drive, once you leave the Interstate. The Center is beautiful with an interesting museum focused on pottery artists and their techniques. The City is available only by tour, because it is still home to about fifty people. (Because there is no electricity or running water, most people now choose to live in the valley). There is a shuttle bus for the few minute ride up to the top of the mesa.
Our tour guide was Alvin. He did a great job telling the history of the Acoma people, who suffered terribly when the Spanish conquerors arrived. There is a large church. Although most people practice their traditional religion, St. Esteban is honored annually. It was interesting to hear people speaking the local language of Keres. This language is, happily, taught in the area schools.
The architecture is striking with flat roofs and ladders. The buildings are now made with adobe with modern windows and doors, but used to have mica in place of glass.
There were many vendors who make and sell traditional pottery. These pots are made using a coil technique. They are so perfect and thin, I had assumed they were wheel thrown.
After our tour, we stopped at the cafe. We had a great lunch of stews, fry bread tacos and sopapillas. It was an excellent half-day trip from Albuquerque.