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"Houses of Acoma" Top 5 Page for this destination Acoma Pueblo Favorite Tip by toonsarah

Acoma Pueblo General: 3 reviews and 9 photos

  Street in Acoma Pueblo
by toonsarah
  • Street in Acoma Pueblo - Acoma Pueblo
      Street in Acoma Pueblo
    by toonsarah
  • Typical house - Acoma Pueblo
      Typical house
    by toonsarah
  • More Acoma houses - Acoma Pueblo
      More Acoma houses
    by toonsarah
  • Restoration in progress - Acoma Pueblo
      Restoration in progress
    by toonsarah
  • Building work - Acoma Pueblo
      Building work
    by toonsarah

Favorite thing: There are about 275 houses in the pueblo, although only around 30 people live here year round, mostly older people and pre-school children, who are often sent to live with grandparents so that they can learn the culture and traditions of the tribe from them. But all the houses are owned and cared for by an Acoma family, and the family will visit and stay there during festival times. Many of the houses we saw therefore had been extensively restored (see photos four and five) – this is very much a living village, not a museum.

The houses are made of adobe, like so many buildings across New Mexico (and indeed across the south-west). Those same Spanish invaders, on first encountering these structures, saw the straw glinting in the sunshine and believed the houses to be made of gold! The thick adobe walls keep the homes cool in summer and warm in the winter, and sharing walls with neighbouring houses adds to the insulation effect. The roads too were carefully planned, each exactly the right width to ensure that even the long shadows of winter would not fall on the houses opposite, so that all could benefit from the warmth of the sun’s rays.

Traditionally all the houses were of three stories, but the use of each floor varied with the season. In the winter the ground floor would be used for cooking. Heat from the fire would rise to the floor above, which was used as living and sleeping space year round, and food would be stored on the top floor away from that heat. In the summer the ground and top floor usage was reversed; cooking would be done on the top floor so the heat could escape through the roof without overheating the inhabitants, and food was stored on the ground floor.

The house in photo two has its window frame painted in the traditional turquoise colour, symbolising the sky, as do those in photo three. In the past windows were made of mica, letting in some light but no view, but today almost all are of glass. But modernisation has only gone so far – there is no mains electricity (though some have generators), no running water and no toilets, as my next tip describes ...

Review Helpfulness: 5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 12, 2011
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