Acoma Pueblo

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Linda Hoernke on April 24, 2012

Acoma is the oldest continuous inhabited community dating back to 1150 AD. Also known as The Sky City, it is known worldwide for their culture and their art.

The Acoma Pueblo rises 370 feet and for almost 2000 years it has been a spiritual home for the Acoma People. There are over 300 structures or homes made of adobe and sandstone. The homes are passed down to the youngest female in each family. The people live there as they have for hundreds of years with no electricity and no running water. There are about 45 people that live there full time while the rest live in homes nearby. They return to celebrate special occasions or to just visit their ancestral home.

San Esteban del Rey Mission was built between 1629 & 1640. The adobe complex is 21,000 sq. ft. and until 1959 the access to the mesa top and Acoma was foot and hand holds carved in the rock. The Acoma people hauled material from great distances and under Spanish rule, they built the mission to last. There is one story that all the wooden logs to be used in the church had to be hand carried the whole way without ever touching the ground. If they did drop a log, they had to leave it and go back for another.

Both Acoma and the mission are on the National Register of Historic Monuments. The mission has also been designated as a Save America’s Treasures site listed in the World Monuments Fund for endangered sites.

There were two ways to return to the visitor center and museum. One was to take a bus back down the road and the other was to use the ancient hand and toe holds down the side of the mesa. I took the ancient route…some of what has been reinforced to make it easier to access Acoma. The climb down was an experience…not only in realizing how they acquired water and crops from the base of the mesa but also to realize the work they did in carrying materials up to build the mission.

The Acoma Pueblo can be reached by driving an hour west of Albuquerque on I-40 to exit 102 or an hour east of Gallup on I-40.

Acoma is open to the public from April-Oct from 9:00am-6:00pm
Call for hours from Nov.-March
Tours are closed to the public on June 24th & 29th
July 10th-14th & July 25th
The first & second weekend of Oct. & the first Sat. in Dec.

Adults ...$20.00
Admission includes pueblo tour, camera permit & Haaku Museum entrance
Acoma Pueblo: Sky City, Acomita, McCartys Reservation
12 Miles South Of I-40, Exit 108
Grants, New Mexico, 87026
(505) 552-9700

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