Taos Pueblo heads my list of responses to 'why Taos?'. As a town, Taos seems to challenge descriptions and classifications. In fact, it can be hard at first glance to identify the source of its enduring attraction. Hard to identify but impossible to deny. There is just something about Taos. Many visitors come for a visit only to find they cannot leave and must make of Taos a permanent home. Modernist painter Agnes Martin is an example, living in Taos from 1967 until her death in 2004. The source of this powerful attraction surely is at least in part the result of the profound spiritual anchor that the 1000 year old pueblo provides. Sited not far from town at the edge of 100,000 acres of tribal lands, this UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE is the oldest continually inhibited structure in the United States. While there are now only 150 year-round residents in the pueblo it remains the heart of the community of the Red Willow people. The one concession to modernity in these dwellings is not electricity or running water but rather the relatively recent inclusion of ground level windows and doors--the need for the original rooftop entrances having vanished with the need for defenses against raids by neighboring tribes. Everything about the pueblo seems to conspire to provide a sense of mesmerizing continuity. This includes the 200 year old church, the courtyard of which is pictured above, and for those lucky enough to be a witness, the performance of tribal dances throughout the year. It is a living community with a deep sense of age which makes for a very rare and a very valuable combination.
Taos is an optional 'add on' to Studio Traveler's trip to Santa Fe in October.
CLICK HERE for trip details.
CLICK HERE for more photos of Taos Pueblo.