Taos is deeply proud of its diversity and the melding of cultures. You can hear it in the traditional music, when you touch an adobe wall, see it in the art, feel it from the dances and taste it in the food.
Many of Taos’ families have ancestors who settled this valley long ago during the Spanish land grants. The first recorded Europeans to see Taos was a contingent of the Coronado Expedition led by Capt. Hernando de Alvarado in 1540 A.D. Fifty-eight years later, Don Juan de Oñate colonized the New Mexico territory for the Spanish empire. Spaniards also brought Catholicism to Taos. The most photographed and painted church in the state and one the most recognized structures in the country is the San Francisco de Asís (St. Francis) Church in Ranchos de Taos. It was built in the 1700s.
The Mexican period began in 1821 when Taos became a part of the Republic of Mexico after an 11-year war for independence. At the conclusion of the Mexican American War in 1848, United States, and thus New Mexico, sovereignty became official.
In the 1800s French fur trappers arrived, boosting Taos’ standing as a trading center. In 1915, six Anglo artists formed the Taos Society of Artists, which transformed Taos into a world-renowned art colony.
But Taos’ heart and soul is Taos Pueblo, the sacred home of the Red Willow People. Continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years, the pueblo is designated both a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. Experience the history of the people who have lived in this area for thousands of years. Learn how their pottery, jewelry, dances, spirituality, agriculture and cuisine influenced, and continue to influence life in the Southwest. Taos and nearby Picuris pueblos were influenced by Plains Indian culture, particularly the Apaches.
Taos Pueblo hours: Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission fees: adults $16 per person; seniors $14 per person; students (11 and up, includes college with ID) $14 per person; groups (eight or more adults) $14 per person; and children 10 and under free.
Unexpected closures do occur for religious activities and an unexpected death in the community. Call before visiting to confirm the pueblo is open, (575) 758-1028.