Nature April 16, 2016
10 Of The Most Enchanting Man Made Wonders In New Mexico
There are many natural wonders in the Land of Enchantment, which you can read about
here. However, humans have also made an impression on our state. Check out these 10 impressive man made structures located in New Mexico.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Spaceport America, near Truth or Consequences
The world's first purpose-built, commercial spaceport is definitely a wonder. The state of New Mexico actually owns the facility, although Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant, with a 20 year lease.
2. Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, near Taos
While nature is responsible for the astounding gorge views, humans maximized them with this marvel of engineering. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is the second-tallest suspension bridge in the nation.
It was built in 1965. Construction started before the money was secured to create a road on the other side. This earned it the nickname: "The Bridge to Nowhere." The drop down to the bottom of the gorge is 650 feet!
3. Taos Pueblo, Taos
There aren't many sites in the U.S. where people have been living for 1000 years. The adobe structures at Taos Pueblo date back to between 1000-1450 A.D. There are roughly 150 full-time inhabitants who continue to live in these buildings today.
4. Chaco Culture National Historic Park, near Nageezi
The Chacoans were extremely organized, creating a center of civilization that contained the tallest buildings in this country until the 19th century! The scale of the original buildings is awe-inspiring, given the date of construction. Pueblo Bonito was four stories high and had hundreds of rooms. Even the roads leading into Chaco were massive for the time; they were 30 feet wide.
5. Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque
This tram is 2.7 miles long and the ride lasts for 15 minutes. Cars carry passengers over plunging canyons until they reach the Sandia Peak, which is at an altitude of 10,378 feet. The logistics required to construct this tramway are mind-blowing.
6. The town of Mesilla, near Las Cruces
New Mexico has a number of well-preserved towns that feel frozen in time, but Mesilla is particularly enchanting. The town was founded around 1848 and the Mesilla plaza is actually a national historic landmark.
7. Elephant Butte Lake and Dam, Elephant Butte
This dam, along with the reservoir, are a national historic civil engineering landmark.
8. Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe
Although New Mexico is filled with beautiful churches, the basilica in Santa Fe is one of most impressive religious buildings in the state. The current building is not the first church to stand on this site, but its Romanesque architecture is both attractive and imposing.
Due to cash flow issues, the cathedral has never had spires. A chapel within the basilica houses the oldest Madonna statue in the nation!
9. Earthships, near Taos
These off-the-grid homes are both captivating and eco-friendly. Earthships have been around since the 1970s but their sustainable architecture stands the test of time.
10. Tinkertown, Sandia Park
Forget building codes and embrace whimsy at this folk art edifice turned museum. This is architecture at its most entertaining!
Which of these impresses you the most? Would you add anything else to the list?