Santa Fe has been the home of one of the First Nations People of America. Thus, it is but normal that when you go to the place, you will not only see the descendants of this great people, but the great adobe architectures that they used to build their villages. Now usually when we talk about old villages, especially those hundreds of years old, we imagine ancient ruins and stones and structures covered with moss or overgrowth. However, the aged structures of Santa Fe are nothing of the sort. Best of all they are made of materials which you wouldn’t normally expect to survive under extreme weather conditions and time – adobe.
Adobe is used in ancient villages around the world in the construction of houses. It is composed of clay, sand and straw, shaped by hand into bricks and sun dried for months before being used. In other countries and places, these adobe structures wouldn’t last a century, but the ones in Santa Fe survived not just one or two hundred years.
One of those ancient adobe architectures is the Palace of the Governors. The palace is considered to be the oldest public building in America, having been built around the early 1600s. The palace served as the seat of the governor of New Mexico during the Spanish regime. If you are thinking of a grand and majestic castle, then you would be disappointed. The structure is a simple, one-storey architecture, with mud coloured walls and no fancy façade. Despite the plain look, the Palace of the Governors is considered a National Historic Landmark – a true American treasure.
To see more of these ancient adobe structures, go take a leisurely walk along the Old Santa Fe Trail. Here you can find the oldest adobe house that still stands today. The house by the way is around 800 years old or so, making it the oldest house in all of USA. Outside, the house looks nothing special, but inside you will find ancient artefacts and equipments that were used by the ancient residents of the house. There are blankets and clay kitchen wares and more.
In the same route you’ll find, Barrio de Analco, once the neighbourhood of Spanish colonists and their Mexican-Indian soldiers. The barrio, constructed in the 17th century, is composed of rows of small houses made of adobe.
Up to the early 1900s, there were still adobe structures being put up in Santa Fe. The Museum of Fine Arts for example, is an adobe architecture built in 1917 and houses some great collections and exhibits.
Right now, you might be wondering why these old mud structures are worth seeing. Well, they may not present much to satisfy every person’s aesthetic taste, but they are great reminders of the rich history and culture of Santa Fe left behind by the Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, and Americans who reside (then and now) in the place. They do not only offer great photo ops, they also offer an enriching and interesting trip for anyone.
Photo by atelier_tee on Flickr