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What Is Pueblo de Taos?

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  • Written By: Vincent Madrone
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 March 2014
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The Pueblo de Taos, commonly called the Taos Pueblo, is a Native American settlement located in northern New Mexico in the United States. The national park features traditional Pueblo-style, multi-storied adobe buildings, and the settlement has been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years. It was also declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The pueblo, which is situated a mile (1.6 km) north of the small arts town of Taos, is open to visitors daily and is major tourist attraction in the state of New Mexico.

The adobe buildings, erected between 1000 and 1450 AD, are constructed entirely from sun dried bricks made of earth mixed with straw and water. The pueblo is now home to around 150 full-time inhabitants as well as many more seasonal residents. The larger Taos Indian Reservation, which has a population of nearly 2,000, surrounds the pueblo and is part of the Eight Northern Pueblos Council of New Mexico.

Visitors to the Pueblo de Taos must pay an entrance fee as well as a camera fee for each individual camera brought into the settlement. Several areas of the pueblo, such as the San Geronimo Cathedral, are off limits to photography and visitors must ask individual permission before photographing residents. The cemetery of the Pueblo de Taos, as well as a handful of other areas, are completely off limits to visitors.

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Many of the inhabitants of the Pueblo de Taos are skilled artisans and silver jewelry, pottery, drums and leather goods such as moccasins are sold at the many small shops within the ancient settlement. The settlement is also known for the fine arts, such as painting and sculpture, that are produced by its residents. Many of these works are for sale at the pueblo itself and in galleries in nearby Taos and Sante Fe.

The present day inhabitants of the Pueblo de Taos are the descendants of the ancient Anasazi people who once lived in the pueblo-like cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park and ruins at Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. The pueblo is a sovereign nation and is governed by a tribal council, which is made up of 50 elders. The Pueblo de Taos is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.

The area surrounding the Pueblo de Taos is home to several other popular New Mexico attractions, including the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande River, which runs through the settlement itself. The Taos Pueblo owns the Taos Mountain Casino, which is located on the tribal lands and generates money for the local residents. Several major events take place at the settlement throughout the year, such as the Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow, which brings traditional Native American dancers and artisans from all over the country to the Pueblo de Taos.

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