Sometimes referred to as Pueblo de Taos (Settlement of Taos) is the only living Native American community designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.
Although the Taos Pueblo is open to the public and has been studied extensively, much of the history of the Pueblo remains a mystery. According to Taos Indian custom, oral history is not divulged outside of the community, which has kept many of the secrets of the Taos Pueblo safe within the minds of the Taos Indians who still live there.
Despite the lack of an accurate record, most anthropologists place a settlement in the Taos Valley at 1000 CE, and the Taos Pueblo between 1000-1450 CE. Since that time, the sun-dried structure has continuously housed Taos Indians, and 150 people live there today full-time. Since it was built, the Pueblo has always been a residential complex, filled with multiple residences, connected by a wall but not by door or window.
In the early days of the Pueblo people entered the home solely from the top of the structure, and doors were only added later as a modern update. Although the Pueblo has stood for 1000 years, repairs and upkeep happen almost constantly, as new layers of earth and straw are added to the exterior, and timbers are replaced to maintain structural integrity.
Even though modern upkeep occurs, the Taos Pueblo still remains obstinate in its connection to its past, and the constant occupation of the Pueblo has created a steady link to Taos’ ancestors. Fighting to keep that link sacred, the Taos has also continued to maintain their separation from the rest of the United States. While they invite visitors to marvel at their world, they keep an arms-length to protect the secret history of their land as a tradition for their community alone.
You can opt to take a self-guided tour or a tour with a guide. Once you are inside, you can go inside and explore many of the buildings. Many of the buildings are home to local stores where traditional food is offered. For example, you can buy fresh bread cooked in a Horno. A traditional mud adobe-built outdoor oven.
Know Before You Go
Taos Pueblo is located near Taos, in north central New Mexico