Posted by: sunnyharvy | April 17, 2014

Oldest Community in North America

Visiting the Acoma Pueblo, located approximately sixty miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico was highly recommended by fellow travelers. Since we found ourselves in the neighborhood, I decided to do so. Even though it’s not entirely our type of attraction, I found it quite interesting.

The Pueblo is built atop a sheer-walled, 367-foot sandstone mesa in a valley studded with sacred, towering monoliths. Occupied since 1150 A.D., Acoma Pueblo has earned the reputation as the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Today it consists of more than 250 dwellings, none of which have electricity, sewer, or water. Few are occupied full-time, but most all are used on occasion, especially during traditional ceremonies and celebrations. The mesa-top settlement is known worldwide for its unique art and rich culture. 

According to Wikipedia, the word “Acoma” is from the Acoma and Spanish word Acoma, or Acú, which means “the place that always was.” “Pueblo” is Spanish for “village” or “town.” Pueblo refers to both the people and the unique architecture of the Southwest.


 The mesa in the distance was the original place of settlement over a thousands years ago, but according to legend a lightning storm destroyed the only path to the top, so they were forced to move.


Our Acoma tour guide who was raised in the community




Sanitation facilities with a view


Some of the residents offer their handmade jewelry, pottery, and other art for sale to tourists


The large crossbar towards the top represents clouds


Crosses atop the mission built for Spaniards with forced Indian labor


When I learned that Ansel Adams had photographed the Pueblo in 1941, I had to see how some of my shots would look in black and white. What do you think?



A neighborhood community bread oven



Next up, Albuquerque and environs.


  1. Acoma has windows now !! Out of Albuquerque try to see the Gran Guivira and Sandia Man Cave….at least I found them fascinating. Best ‘real’ mexican food is around Alb. and Santa Fe…….don’t forget to order the sauce ‘Christmas style’…. I love the area you are in now!!! Wish I was there too………

  2. Go to Chaco Canyon.

  3. My mom painted a place called Abique in New Mexico. It is virtually the same as your photo of the canyon below the “owl eyes”. Been reading Tony Hillerman lately and thanks for your amazing photos and black and white ones of the areas he talks about. My Mom’s best friend was a Pueblo Indian whose grandmother still lived on the reservation and would not share her ceramic glaze secrets with her because she did not live on the res…………..
    I soo appreciate your photos and historical facts….

  4. Amazing part of the world…so glad we get to tour America vicariously through your excellent photographic record!!!!

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