Monday, May 23, 2011

Acoma Sky City in New Mexico

Acoma Sky City in New Mexico is the perfect scenic inspiration for your writing. For me I can imagine writing a science fiction story set in the village or even a fantasy piece with a village modeled after Sky City. I hope it inspires you to write.

The Acoma's Sky City in New Mexico, is just sixty miles west of Albuquerque. The village is open to everyone. There is an admission fee and a camera fee, but as you will see from my pictures, the camera fee is well worth it. However, no photography of the Acoma people living there is permitted without their permission. You also cannot photograph inside the church or the cemetery, but there is plenty for you to take in and enjoy. You can view the rules and etiquette for visiting the native village here:

People live on the mesa here year round and with no running water, sewer, or electricity. It is amazing how resourceful and ingenious the Acoma tribe is.

Sky City rests regally on a bluff 367 feet above the ground. The Acoma people have lived in North America since 1150 A.D. Their land stretches roughly 432,000 miles. Today they still carry on their pottery and tribal traditions, offering us all a view into their special world. Sky City is the oldest inhabited village in the U.S.

I concur with the official site guidelines to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Also, bring water. The dry heat is misleading. With little humidity, you won't think it's really hot, until the heat sickness sneaks up on you. And sunscreen. I cannot stress that one enough. There are not many shade trees to hide under in New Mexico.

Here are a few of the panoramic views you will see on the way to Sky City and also from the bluffs of Sky City. They are stunning! Sky City gives you a sense of ancient grace. You can feel it surrounding you as you walk through the village. You will see the vibrant blue sky that is a signature of New Mexico. I have not edited the color in these pictures at all. It's phenomenal!

These are a few of the village shots.

This is the church mission bell. The Spanish settlers built the church in 1629. The church is a historical beauty, but no photography is allowed inside. You will have to go see it for yourself. It is worth the visit. The cemetery is directly outside the church as well. It overlooks a scenic bluff. An amazing place to spend all of eternity. You could not get closer to the ancient gods if you tried.

After the tour, you are offered the opportunity to use the same cliff side steps the Acoma used. It is very steep and not for those with serious health problems. The steps are not carved into the bluffs; they are natural rock indentations and shelves used as footholds and handholds. I made the trek myself and cannot imagine toting my children and belongings and food up and down the bluff. Some of the footholds and handholds are quite far apart. It is a good workout. I was grateful to reach the tour bus. You can certainly see how well defended the Acoma people were. (Until the Spanish came, of course. They will tell you on the tour of the hard times the Spanish had with the terrain and the Acoma people.)

For more history on the village and the area check here:

You can read a more detailed history of the area here:

For information on tour rates, hours, and camera permits check here:

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!