Santa Fe, New Mexico is on our bucket list, because of its history, architecture, and arts. Santa Fe is located at 7000 feet above sea level on the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains. It is one of the most important cities in the world for visual arts and contains over 250 art galleries and exhibition spaces. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States, founded in 1610 by Don Pedro de Peralta.
He built a capitol building for his new settlement now called the Palace of the Governors. It’s still owned by the state of New Mexico, making it the oldest government building in the United States.
It’s a long one story structure facing the central plaza. The architecture is pure pueblo revival, all wood beams and simulated adobe. Underneath, Native American craftsmen sell their wares.
Our next stop was the Chapel of Our Lady of Light, known as the Loretto Chapel. Now privately owned, you may take a tour here and visit the Miraculous Staircase. The story goes that the nuns had left out space for the staircase in the chapel plans, and despaired of building one. A carpenter supposedly showed up unannounced after nine days of prayer by the sisters, built the staircase, and then left without taking payment. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and it held itself up with no nails or visible supports, only wooden pegs.
Click above photo to read about our visit to Loretto Chapel
Adobe is a sun-baked mixture of earth, sand, charcoal and chopped straw. It is made into large bricks that are set with a mortar of the same materials and then plastered and smoothed over with mud and straw. This type of building is what you will see in New Mexico and is used for all types of buildings from homes and schools and churches and shop to large hotels and even shopping malls. Nearly 100 years ago the village elders adjusted their building code based on the ancient adobe style and Santa Fe is today made up almost entirely of buildings of this construction which makes it a magical and unique place to simply walk around and admire.
It was said that 39 per cent of the city’s economy is generated by the arts and culture. And the artists and scientists are collaborating on complex artistic experiments that are among the world’s most progressive. Canyon Road is an art lover’s mecca, with more than 100 world-class art and sculpture galleries showcasing old masters, contemporary paintings and sculpture, and traditional Native American weaving, ceramics and jewelry. We walked and took some photos of their art.
Walking around town is just like walking in an amusement park. Everywhere you go around town you will see awesome art displays.
We ended the day with a good dinner at The Plaza Cafe Downtown. It is Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant, serving delicious, globally-inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner in an old-school diner atmosphere. This historic diner is conveniently located in downtown Santa Fe in the same location where they started at in 1905.
Click above photo to read about our dining experience at the Plaza Cafe