Sky City - The Acoma PuebloSky City - The Acoma Pueblo

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  • Off the path Explo
    76 %
    Off the path Explo rate
    3.8 / 5
    This is a singular spot and cool Explo. A bit famous though in the US.
  • Article Quality
    80 %
    Article Quality rate
    • Score
      5 / 5
      Good description and tips Neala :)
    • Score
      3 / 5
      Useful information is ok. A plan would be useful!
    • Score
      2 / 5
      Yes, 2.
    • Score
      5 / 5
    • Score
      5 / 5
  • Explo Popularity

It is the legendary Sky City - the ancestral home of the Acoma people. It was the Spanish who called the adobe communities of the native Americans pueblos (or little towns). The Acoma pueblo covers about 75 acres but it
sits atop a 357-foot high sandstone mesa overlooking the valley floor.
It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the United States.

My experience, Explo description: 

The Acoma are one of the rare native tribes who have been one people living on their land for over 2000 years. In their oral history, they go back much further.

For centuries they lived in peace and trade, and their culture thrived.But the high sandstone walls turned out to be no match for Spanish conquistadors who came seeking the city of gold, and conquered the Acoma pueblo in the process.

The only way to visit the pueblo is by a tour given by Acoma guides from the Sky City Cultural Center. I walked the unpaved rocky streets, past ancient buildings and tiny plazas surrounded by mountains and mesas that measure their ages in eons. Exploring the pueblo is to become clearly aware of history and the difficulties of combining that legacy with modern life.

The pueblo has both older and newer buildings, moments of incongruity as new windows and cement blocks sit atop older adobe walls. There is no running water and no electricity. Coolers hold food, although an occasional generator can be seen. Water is hauled up the steep road, and outhouses remind visitors of the reality of living as one's ancestors did.

The Acoma are famous for the pottery, and visitors to the pueblo have ample opportunity to see these hand-made pots of coiled clay, smoothed, painted and signed by the artisans. The people are open and friendly,but etiquette is clear no photos of people without their expressed permission.

Frequently requests for photos are waved away with a shy smile and a head shake "no." Privacy is valued, especially when visitors are always coming into their community.

The historically recognized San Esteban del Rey Mission is true highlight. Although the Spanish are long gone, some of the Catholic heritage survived and fused with native religious song, prayer, and dance. The melding has
produced unique celebrations and unusual interior design for the church.

How getting there: 

Take I-40 and follow the signs for the Cultural Center. If you get confused, you can stop in at the Acoma Sky City Casino and they'll provide direction

A tip to eat: 

The cafe at the Cultural Center provides really delicious and reasonably priced food. The casino - not anywhere near as good.

A tip to sleep: 

You can get a room at the casino hotel which will be clean and comfortable.

Useful information: 
Entry fees: 

There is a charge for the museum, and for the tour. And, if you want to take photos anywhere on pueblo land, pay the additional fee for a photo pass.