Visit the Historic Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo has been home to our ancestors for nearly 1000 years. The pueblo’s homes are made entirely of adobe, earth mixed with water and straw to form bricks that are dried in the sun. These multi-storied structures are still home to approximately 150 people who live in the pueblo full time. About 1,900 Taos Indians live on pueblo lands nearby.

Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and as a National Historic Landmark.

Visitors over 10 years of age have an admission charge. Photography is allowed for personal use only. Commercial, documentary, and educational photography and videography, or the creation of artist renderings, must have prior approval and payment of fees through our tourism office. No photos may be taken of tribal members without permission. The Annual Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow is an excellent time to visit. It takes place on the second weekend of July at the Taos Pueblo and includes Native American dancers from all over North America, as well as a large arts and crafts market with plenty of food vendors. For more information, please visit the Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow website. And if you can't make the Pow-wow, The Taos Pueblo is open most of the year for visitation as well. For more information on visiting the pueblo, please visit The Taos Pueblo website

Welcome to Taos Pueblo!

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Taos Pueblo Tribe who own and operate Taos Mountain Casino.

Who lives in the Pueblo?

Approximately 150 members of our Tribe live within the Pueblo full time. Other families owning homes in the North or South buildings live in summer homes near their fields, and in more modern homes outside the old walls but still within Pueblo land. There are over 1900 Taos Indians living on Taos Pueblo lands.

What religion is practiced at Taos Pueblo?

The Pueblo Indians are about 90% Catholic. Catholicism is practiced along with the ancient Indian religious rites which are an important part of Taos Pueblo life. The Pueblo religion is very complex; however, there is no conflict with the Catholic Church, as evidenced by the prominent presence of both church and kiva in the village.

What language is spoken at the pueblo?

Tiwa is our native language. English and Spanish are also spoken.

How large is the Taos Pueblo land?

The land base is 99,000 acres with an elevation of 7,200 feet at the village.

What is the economic base of Taos Pueblo?

The tourist trade, arts, traditional crafts and food concessions are important employment sources at the Pueblo. Some tribal members are employed in the Town of Taos. The Pueblo has a centralized management system where tribal members are employed in a variety of occupations.

What is the educational system?

The Bureau of Indian Affairs maintains an elementary school, located behind the south Pueblo in an area restricted to the public. The majority of teachers are Indian. There is also a preschool program for three and four-year-olds. An education committee comprised of Pueblo members oversees the education of students and monitors a scholarship program for students wishing higher education. Indian children also attend public schools in the Town of Taos.

What handmade wares are available for purchase?

Mica-flecked pottery and silver jewelry are made by local artisans and sold at many of the individually owned curio shops within the Pueblo. The Taos Indians, being great hunters, are also famous for their work with animal skins -- moccasins, boots and drums. There are a growing number of contemporary Pueblo fine artists, combining Indian tradition with modern artistic expression. The outstanding Taos Pueblo trademark is the natural look, that is, the enhancement of natural material appearance without additional coloration.

What is the relationship with other southwest Indian communities?

Taos is the northernmost of the nineteen New Mexico Pueblos. Our language is most closely related to that of Picuris, Isleta and Sandia Pueblos, but we are not related by blood. We traditionally trade with the Plains and other Pueblo Indians, particularly at our San Geronimo Day fair in September. A Pow-Wow, held each July, brings Indians from many tribes to Taos for a Native American weekend of trade and social festivities.

How does Taos Pueblo view the future?

As a sovereign nation within the United States, preserving our ancient traditions in the face of advancement of "modernization" is our prime concern. We are encouraged by an increased population of tribal members choosing to remain in Taos, as well as by these actions acknowledging Taos' important cultural heritage: Taos declared a National Historic landmark in 1965; Blue Lake returned to Taos in 1970; Taos Pueblo admitted to the World Heritage Society in 1992 as one of the most significant historical cultural landmarks in the world ... other sites include the Taj Mahal, Great Pyramids and the Grand Canyon in the United States.

When is the Pueblo open to visitors?

The Pueblo is generally open to visitors daily from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, except when tribal rituals require closing the Pueblo. Late winter to early Spring the Pueblo closes for about ten weeks. Please call ahead if you'll be visiting during this time at (575) 758-1028.

How old is Taos Pueblo?

Our people have a detailed oral history which is not divulged due to religious privacy. Archaeologists say that ancestors of the Taos Indians lived in this valley long before Columbus discovered America and hundreds of years before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. Ancient ruins in the Taos Valley indicate our people lived here nearly 1000 years ago. The main part of the present buildings were most likely constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. The appeared much as they do today when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola. The two structures called Hlauuma (north house) and Hlaukwima (south house) are said to be of similar age. They are considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the USA.

How were the buildings constructed?

The Pueblo is made entirely of adobe -- earth mixed with water and straw, then either poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks. The walls are frequently several feet thick. The roofs of each of the five stories are supported by large timbers -- vigas -- hauled down from the mountain forests. Smaller pieces of wood -- pine or aspen latillas -- are placed side-by-side on top of the vigas; the whole roof is covered with packed dirt. The outside surfaces of the Pueblo are continuously maintained by re-plastering with thick layers of mud. Interior walls are carefully coated with thin washes of white earth to keep them clean and bright. The Pueblo is actually many individual homes, built side-by-side and in layers, with common walls but no connecting doorways. In earlier days there were no doors or windows and entry was gained only from the top.

What modern conveniences are available at the Pueblo?

Our traditions dictate that no electricity or running water is allowed within the Pueblo walls. Most members live in conventional homes outside the village walls, but occupy their Pueblo houses for ceremonials.

How is the Pueblo governed?

A tribal governor and war chief, along with staffs for each, are appointed yearly by the Tribal Council, a group of some 50 male tribal elders. The tribal governor and his staff are concerned with civil and business issues within the village and relations with the non-Indian world. The war chief and staff deal with the protection of the mountains and Indian lands outside the Pueblo walls.

Who lives in the Pueblo?

Approximately 150 members of our Tribe live within the Pueblo full time. Other families owning homes in the North or South buildings live in summer homes near their fields, and in more modern homes outside the old walls but still within Pueblo land. There are over 1900 Taos Indians living on Taos Pueblo lands.