New Mexico February 23, 2018
The Oldest Settlement In The Country Is Here In New Mexico And It’s Incredibly Beautiful
Most people don’t realize it, but New Mexico reigns supreme when it comes to historic sites. We’re home to the oldest city, the oldest church, one of the oldest homes, and some of the oldest communities in the country.
This is Acoma Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the country. Anthropologists estimate the people of Acoma have been living in the area for at least 800 years while tribal members estimate it to be closer to 2,000 years.
The pubelo is located about one hour west of Albuquerque, just off a quiet state highway, and is actually made up of four different villages: Acomita, Anzac, McCartys, and Old Acoma, also called Sky City. Today, we’re looking at the latter village.
The village sits perched on a steep mesa, the adobe buildings appear to blend with the landscape. It offers a perfect view of the land surrounding the village and, at one point in time, safety from enemies.
Approximately 300 adobe buildings sit up here without electricity or running water but only a few dozen people continue to live in the village permanently. Others live in neighboring towns and cities for work and school but return for feast days or family events.
One of the primary examples of European contact with the pueblo is the San Estevan del Rey Mission, which dates to 1629 when construction first began. The structure is tall yet composed of modest adobe construction like the homes surrounding it and the mission has surprisingly stayed the same over the centuries with few repairs.
Guided tours are offered in the village and old mission, but you’ll also want to spend some time wandering the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum.
You’ll see a variety of exhibits, which details the lives and history of the Acoma and Indigenous peoples.
The center also hosts various cultural events and workshops aimed at cultural revitalization. These include beginner pottery workshops, an annual cycle event called the Tour de Acoma, movie screenings, and more.
Acoma Pueblo and Sky City Cultural Center are located approximately one hour west of Albuquerque, via Interstate 40 and State Route 23. For details about visiting, check out
acomaskycity.org or their Facebook page.
Ready to check out more historic spots around the state? You can read about some of our architecture in
The 7 Oldest Buildings In New Mexico Where Time Stands Still.