Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
39Trip End Oct 26, 2010
The Visitor Center is a beautiful building of southwestern design that complements the landscape. We are lucky to arrive just 10 minutes before the next guided tour of the pueblo.
The ancient pueblo village sits atop a 367-foot sandstone bluff in a valley studded with sacred towering monoliths. Settled since 1150 A.D., the Acoma Pueblo has earned the reputation as the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Today tribal members still live in the 250 dwellings atop the mesa, none of which have electricity, sewer, or water. Tribal settlements are also scattered throughout the valley. Our guide did admit that some of the mesa dwellers do have generators, as he said "it is football season after all and this is a football pueblo".
The site known as "Sky City", was chosen for its defensive position against raiders. The mesa walls are sheer and enabled the Acoma to repel invaders until the late 1500's when they lost a battle to the Spaniards, reducing the population from 2,000 to 250 who were then enslaved and moved to another pueblo for a period of time before another uprising when they regained their freedom. They have a long and rich history with much information available on the internet and through the Pueblo site.
The Pueblo and San Esteban del Rey Mission are Registered National Historical Landmarks.
We were lucky to find a spot in a campground on the outskirts of Albuquerque, they had an opening for just the one night, expecting the hordes of tourists to begin arriving the next day for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. They will be full for the next ten days. It was near the highway but was well kept, offered shady spots and had a lovely shower facility.