"Salinas Pueblo Missions National Park - Overview" Top 5 Page for this destination New Mexico Things to Do Tip by kymbanm

New Mexico Things to Do: 276 reviews and 604 photos

  Quairai Church ruins look to the sky
by kymbanm

The people of Salinas Pueblo Missions left the area over 300 years ago. They where believed to be decendents of the Anasazi and the Mogollon .... native ancestors known to be in the region over 7000 years ago.

These pueblos were agricultural centers and became large cities of stone with large plazas which contained spiritual places of worship and ceremony known as Kivas. Hundred of apartment-like rooms contained the inhabitants of each pueblo.

Early exploration of the New Mexico region ocured during the 1500's. By the 1600's, the riches of New Mexico were considered largely legend. The nearby salt field was considered a great find - but this was not enough to maintain the presence of the Spanish military in the region. Pope Phillip II had charged the Spanish crown with Christianizing the New World natives ... so regional missions were built and maintained at the cost of the government of Spain.

Abuses in the mission system by the local government led to strained relationships between the Natives and the Spanish. Combined with attacks from neighboring Native cultures, and natural climactic changes, these forces combined to create the end of an era ..... these missions were abandoned.

This resettlement eventually led these people down to the El Paso region where the Salinas Natives were assimilated by the Native tribes of that region ... making the Salinas Native one of the few tribes of that era to completely loose their language, land and culture.

I learned all of this history as I scrambled about the ruins on a wonderful summer day. I had only heard about these ruins in the past year, and hadn't had a chance to explore them until this particular day. I loved wandering these old settlements while imagining the lives that were lived here .... I have an active imagination, so this was great fun. The beauty of the area added to the mystery and wonder of this little tour :)

Address: Mountainair, New Mexico
Directions: The main visitor center for these ruins is located centrally within the triangle formed by their locations. So chances are, you will pass at least one of these ruins on your way to the center....
Phone: 505-847-2585
Website: http://www.nps.gov/sapu

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 9, 2005
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