Visiting the United States, most people focus on travel to the east or west coast or to popular natural resources like famous national parks.  They overlook the lesser known cities that offer a real Americana experience with indigenous heritage and cultural immersion opportunities–places like Taos Pueblo.

Church ruins and cemetery.  Photo:  Larry Lamsa

Deep in America’s wilderness, along a small tributary of the Rio Grande River, there is a place where a small village still represents an entire culture, known as the Pueblo Indians that used to occupy a grand portion of northern Mexico and southwestern United States. These Pueblo Indians were spread across large areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The Taos Pueblo is the most authentic settlement that still stands today and dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries.  It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and an amazing travel destination.   While the old village might not seem as much on first glance, with many adobe houses, set on two clusters and with several ceremonial buildings, it represents a rich part of the Indian heritage of North America. The Taos Pueblo is one of the most remarkable examples of the architecture from the Pre-Hispanic period of the American continent, deriving from the ancient traditions of the Anasazi Indian tribes. The present day village retains its authentic look from several centuries ago and even the ruins of the church and monastery of the missionaries remain.

Photo:  Jason Solomon

The Pueblo Indians resisted most external influences, remaining deeply rooted in their ancestral customs, so this particular village is extremely interesting, presenting the main characteristics of the architecture and social life of this group. Considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States, the Taos Pueblo remains inhabitied as it has for thousands of years and is located inside a reservation and at the center of a bigger area containing other pueblos. The most interesting feature of the village is the traditional adobe type of construction, with houses being crammed together and built on top of others, with thinner walls. The access is made through stairs or ladders and it makes for an amazing view. Deeply linked to their community, the Pueblo people are very attached to their villages, families and beliefs. The Taos Pueblo is truly the most representative of their settlements, but it also makes for one of the most picturesque villages one could encounter during a visit to the United States.