Our next stop was Santa Fe, New Mexico. In our travels over the past 30 years, we try and stop at state capitols. Sometimes it is just a walk around the building, sometimes it is a tour, and sometimes it is a self-guide tour. The New Mexico capitol has a self-guided tour.
New Mexico claims to have the oldest capitol (we will get to that later) and the newest capitol. The current capitol was dedicated in December of 1966. It was built in a Pueblo adobe style and is the only round capitol in the United States. It has the nickname “Roundhouse”. When the Spanish settled the area, they named it Santa Fe , which means holy faith.
The statue outside the capitol is called Morning Prayer in a tribute to Native Americans.
The rotunda is 49 feet in diameter and 60 feet tall. The skylight represents an Indian basket weave. The blue represents the sky and the pink represents the Earth. The Zia sun symbol is represented on the floor. It is made of turquoise and brass.
There are statues of prominent legislators, and pictures of past lawmakers.
The building is adorned with art and handcrafted designs by New Mexico artists.
There 2 legislative branches, the House of Representatives consisting of 70 members
And the Senate consisting of 42 members. Each chamber has a gallery for visitors.
After our visit to the capitol, we went to “Old Town” Santa Fe. Old Town is where the Palace of Governors is located, also known as the old capitol. It was built in 1609 and was the seat of the Spanish, Mexican, and American governments.
Santa Fe is a haven for artists and has numerous art galleries and museums, such as the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
The Plaza also has the original Santa Fe trail running through it. This trail was a major trade route to Mexico.
We asked the local parking attendant for a good place to eat New Mexico cuisine and he suggested the Thunderbird Cafe. It was on the second floor with a balconey so we could see the Plaza. We had the Santa Fe chili, enchiladas, and tacos. Very good!!
In the Plaza, there were 2 young men, who were playing a drum and singing a Native American chant.
To the east of the plaza is the St. Francis Cathedral, which is the church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Construction of the present church was completed in 1886. It was elevated to a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
There is a statue is of St. Francis, the patron saint of the diocese and Jean-Baptiste Lamu, who became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe in 1850.
It was Chile pepper season, so there were numerous stands with dried bunches for sale.
We spent the night at a KOA in Santa Fe. The next morning we drove to Albuquerque. Since we were on a National Park trip, we dropped the motor home off at another KOA and headed to Petroglyph National Monument. This is located on the western edge of Albuquerque. In 1970, there began an organized effort to protect the fragile petroglyphs (drawings) in the area. In 1986, a 17 mile area, which was the location of most of the petroglyphs, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Through the continued efforts of several groups, Petroglyph National Monument was established in 1990.
A petroglyph is described as an image or picture that has been pecked, carved, or in some way drawn onto stone. There are over 24,000 petroglyphs within the national monument. It is believed that the images range in age from 400 yearsold to 3000 years old. The monument contains 4 areas to see petroglyphs, all requiring some walking/hiking. We elected to visit Boca Negro Canyon, which means black mouth.
Our first stop was at Mesa Point Trail which climbs an escarpment of black rock. Along the way, there are informational signs, describing the landscape, the lifestyle of the Pueblo people, and the petroglyphs.
The trail is steep in some spots and there is no railing, but it had a great view of the surrounding area.
Along the trail, there are a variety of drawings. We laughed and said that it is like ancient graffiti.
The trail winds around until you reach the top of the hill, where there is evidence of ancient rock structures.
Our next stop was Macaw Trail. This is a very short hike.
The trail’s main attraction is the macaw drawing but there are several others as well.
Even though we were only able to visit one section of the monument, it was interesting to look at the petroglyphs. If we were to come again, we would plan for a much longer stay.