At last we have a full day to explore Santa Fe. After rain and snow we are blessed today with cloudless skies and cold crisp air.
Santa Fe was first occupied by Pueblo Indians in about 1100 and was settled by Spanish colonialists in 1598. Now The population is about 75,000 of which about 45% identify themselves as Hispanic. For more about Sante Fe's remarkable history look HERE.
This city is the center of southwestern art and culture, and a tourist mecca. The central downtown is one big shopping area full of art and artists. The preferred style of architecture is adobe. We are here on a cold windy Friday morning in October and the city was full of people.
There are so many thing so see here. I took a hundred photos and had trouble whittling them down to 15. This is the Santa Fe Performing Arts Center.
Within the Museum grounds is the Alan Houser Art Park, an enclosed courtyard of contemporary sculpture. For more about this artist see HERE.
The contrast of light and shadow against the azure blue sky is very striking.
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Frances of Assisi dates back to 1610. The congregation will celebrate its 400th anniversary next year in 2010. For more information see their website HERE. For an excellent Wikipedia article with a virtual tour of the cathedral see HERE.
The interior is light and colorful. Some cathedrals are solomn and austere. Here is a feeling of openness and joy. Clearly this is the home to a living community.
Beautiful stained glass and intricately decorated ornamentation stands out against the white surfaces.
Santa Fe is most of all a center for art and artists. Along the long shelter of the Governor's Palace are artisans selling their work. Paintings, jewlery, sculpture, artifacts of all sorts are laid out on blankets for you to see and hopefully buy. Most of these are not expensive.
In the many shops are the unusual and beautiful. These are not for those of us with limited resources. But window shopping is free. This is a wooden bowl, carved on a lath from a single block selected for its grain. Where there are natural cracks in the wood, crushed turquoise is worked into the cracks and the whole thing is polished to a glassy shine. Very unusual.
Many things here are made from turqouise and sterling silver.
This cat is covered entirely in bead work in stunning patterns. There are so many lovely things offered for sale that I can only offer a brief sample.
And of course when Susan saw this Christmas shop she had to go inside for a look. We had a wonderful day and a wonderful week.
Saturday we will start back home. Rather than retrace our circuitous drive down route 66 we will swing back by driving straight down the Oklahoma panhandle. Stay tuned.