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Coronado Historic Site

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Jemez Historic Site


Coronado and Jemez are part of six NM heritage sites supported by the Friends and administered by New Mexico Historic Sites, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.  The Friends support both sites with volunteer activities and fund raising.

FCHS Historic Sites

Coronado Historic Site preserves and interprets an archaeological site of first-contact between Hispanic explorers and Native Puebloans.  In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited here and encountered Tiwa people living in this adobe pueblo.

Kuaua was the northernmost of the twelve villages.  Its name means "evergreen" in Tiwa.  It was first settled around AD 1325 and was occupied by approximately 1,200 people when Coronado arrived. Conflict with Coronado and later Spanish explorers led to the abandonment of this site within a century of first contact.  Today, the descendants of the people of Kuaua live in the surviving Tiwa-speaking villages of Taos, Picuris, Sandia, and Isleta. 

The historic site includes 500-year-old kiva murals and a reconstructed and painted kiva, providing a glimpse into the religious life of Tiwa people. A museum and nature trail enhance your visit with a beautiful view of the Sandia Mountain.  Docent-led tours are offered every day the site is open.

A short drive from Albuquerque and Bernalillo, the Jemez National Historic Landmark is one of the most beautiful state historic sites in the Southwest. It includes stone ruins of a 500-year-old church dating to 1621 and the ancient village of Giusewa.


The pueblo was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo. A 1,400-foot interpretive trail winds through the impressive site ruins. The name Giusewa refers to the natural springs in the area.  

In the 17th century, Spanish missionaries established a Catholic mission at the village. The massive stone walls were constructed about the same time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. However, this mission was short-lived, and the people abandoned the site and moved to the current location of Jemez Pueblo.

An adjacent heritage center contains exhibits that tell the story of the site through the words of the Jemez people.

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