Destination Information - Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA
With a name translated as ‘holy faith’, Santa Fe claims some of the most faithful fans among American cities with tourist appeal. More than a few of its 60,000-plus residents have relocated to this hot spot from other places in order to submerge themselves in the art world, take advantage of year-round outdoors adventure offerings, and enjoy the mystical, spiritual appeal of the New Mexico’s deep well of Native American heritage. Some travellers might make the mistake of dismissing Santa Fe as simply a shoppers’ paradise where visitors are known to drop outrageous sums of money on artworks, jewellery, and clothing.
Just a quick glance at its history, however, tells you that Santa Fe owns riches that transcend such a superficial realm; in fact, the oldest capital city in the United States was settled 13 years before the Mayflower Pilgrims landed at their Plymouth colony and remains the oldest European community west of the Mississippi River.
There were a few residents as early as 1607, but Santa Fe was settled in 1609-1610 by the conquistador Don Pedro de Peralta, who chose the ancient Pueblo Indian ruin of Kaupoge at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to plot the town site.
Throughout the central, oldest part of the city, you will find the early style of architecture, a mix of mud and straw that form adobes, remains dominant. The intriguing blend of décor amidst homes and businesses still incorporates the carved images of saints called santos, as well as artworks in tin, iron, straw and silver, representing the Hispanic customs of the region.
At the same time, you will find pottery, stonework, baskets, and weavings illustrating the significant Native American influences from the Eight Northern Pueblos that cover the landscape in this part of New Mexico.
At an altitude of over 2,100m (7,000ft), Santa Fe is a lofty setting in which to experience a culture like no other in America. You are sure to join the faithful in no time.