Taos Pueblo and a Thousand Year Old Adobe Architecture

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Taos Pueblo and a Thousand Year Old Adobe Architecture

‘Adobe’ was a strange and a new word for me.

‘Adobe? Isn’t that a company name?’ was my first thought. Oh, the limited knowledge of a second language speaker.

adobe |əˈdōbē|

noun

a kind of clay used as a building material, typically in the form of sun-dried bricks: [as adj. ] adobe houses.

• a brick of such a type.

• a building constructed from such material.

Yep, it’s a building material. And Taos Pueblo people are well known for their Adobe architecture. In fact, Adobe buildings are one of the significant features of the Southwest of America. This village in Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in North America. They have been here since the 1200s. The current buildings are annually repaired and recoated with mud. There are about 150 people are living on the reservation out of 2,000 tribal members. They are keeping this UNESCO Heritage as it was. Because of the structural weakness, they won’t allow people to use gas or water pipes on their buildings. It seems extreme, but that’s their way of protecting and continuing their culture and the tradition.

The tour was remarkable. There’s no actual gate; just walking right into their reservation, where the people are living. We can walk around the village, look around the shops, and talk to people on the street. During this summer’s road trip, I had quite a few chances to meet Native Americans, and every single one of them has a remarkably sad and impressive history regarding Spanish and the US government. Taos Pueblo people aren’t an exception. It’s wonderful that despite what happened in the past, they still cherish their life and are still trying to keep it going.

The adobe buildings are not new to me, in fact. Just the word adobe was new. To this day, building a house with mud and straw is one of the healthiest methods Korean people are using. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I guess people who are from old times without A/C and heater figured all things out.

No door – use the ladder instead

One of the most memorable things on the reservation was to know the fact there was no door in the old days. I can see why they didn’t try to put a door on the adobe wall. The ladder is a common thing to see around the village, and the reason was that they had to climb up to the roof to get in the house. Well now they don’t have to, but still ladders are one of the most significant items in the reservation.

#When you go

Entry fee is $10, but you have to purchase a Camera pass if you want to take pictures for another $8.

Respect people’s space and please ask them first if you want to take their picture. Most of them would say yes.

They are closed 10 weeks around Feb to Mar. Please check if you are going around that time.

The entrance of Taos Pueblo

Enter, Taos Pueblo -- one of the oldest continually inhabited community in the US

Taos Pueblo church

The Catholic church of Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo house

Taos Pueblo Adobe House

Ladder - they used it to get into the house from the top.

Ladder - they used it to get into the house from the top

Cemetery in Taos Pueblo

Community Cemetery of Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo nature friendly design

They use adobe & nature for their building

Taos Pueblo buildings and ovens

Ovens

Adobe building door at Taos Pueblo

Door and the window of the adobe building

Multi-story Adobe house in Taos Pueblo

Multi-story Adobe house in Taos Pueblo

Cedar - Smudges

Smudges for sale: Cedar

Taos Pueblo houses

Very typical Taos Pueblo house

Dried chili pepper and the traditional pottery

Dried chili pepper and the traditional pottery of Pueblo people

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

6 Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    Their architecture is really fascinating. Looks beautiful and from what you say functions quite well. I’m glad you pointed out about traditional/natural building materials can be better in many respects. I saw a traditional village in Jeju built with lava rocks and adobe and I’d like to see more of that kind of stuff.

  2. Laura says:

    Juno, one of the most amazing travel experiences I ever had was introducing a friend from New York to Northern New Mexico and the pueblos. It was so much fun to see this place through her eyes and reactions! Growing up and living in the southwest, it’s easy to forget how foreign it is to people from other parts of the world. Your pictures and your words are a new reminder how much I love and appreciate the unique culture of New Mexico and the American Southwest.

  3. Waegook Tom says:

    This is super fascinating, Juno – I know nothing about this kind of thing, and love exploring other cultures and seeing their way of life and architecture. I think it’s amazing that the place is kept in tact and hasn’t been left to crumble.

  4. Gray says:

    Oh my gosh, I would love to visit this place! As you may remember from all the Southwestern photos on my walls, I have a soft spot for adobes and deserts and Native American pottery and such. Did they explain exactly why you need to pay to take pictures, when it’s outdoors? That seems odd to me…..

    • Juno says:

      It was a wonderful place Gray! You’d love it! Adobe buildings are so charming. I totally understand the soft spot. 😉 They really didn’t explain why; it’s just protect people’s privacy. It will prevent visitors to take ramdom pictures, thoughtlessly? When in Rome…..

  5. […] with the Taos Pueblo reservation, Acoma Pueblo Sky City was certainly one of the most interesting places in New Mexico. The name […]

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