Santa Fe is the fourth largest city and the capital of New Mexico. It covers an area of thirty-seven square miles and has a population of seventy-two thousand residents. This city can trace its history to the eleventh century when it was occupied by several Pueblo Indian tribes. During the sixteenth century, it became the capital of the Spanish province Nuevo Mexico. By the end of the sixteenth century, New Mexico was extensively settled by Spanish colonists and Don Juan de Onate was named the first governor of the area. The city was officially founded by the Spanish in 1608 by New Mexico’s third governor Don Pedro de Peralta. This makes the city the third oldest European settled city left in the United States. During the Mexican War of Independence, the city became a possession of Mexico. This was formalized in the Mexican constitution of 1824.
In 1846, the United States and Mexico went to war and Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny lead a force of over seventeen hundred soldiers into the city to claim it for the U.S. The city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico officially became a possession of the United States under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Three years later, Jean Baptiste Lamy arrived in the city and started the construction of St. Francis Cathedral. In 1912, the state of New Mexico became the 47th state of the United States and Santa Fe was named its capital. Today, Santa Fe is a culturally diverse city with a healthy economy. One of the principal sections of the city’s economy is based upon tourism. Each year, visitors are attracted to the city by its beautiful year round climate, outdoor recreations and its many cultural attractions.
A prominent attraction in Santa Fe is the Palace of the Governors. This palace was built in 1610 and is situated on Palace Avenue on the Plaza of Santa Fe. Construction on this palace was begun by governor of the Spanish territory, Pedro de Peralta. The Palace of the Governors original capacity was to serve as the seat of government of the Spanish colony of Nuevo Mexico (New Mexico). After the state became a possession of Mexico, the palace was the administrative seat of the territory. Finally, when the state became a possession of the United States, the palace would be used as the territories first capitol. In 1909, the legislature of New Mexico turned it into a museum detailing the history of the state. In 1960, it was made a National Historic Landmark.
Another popular attraction in the city is the New Mexico Museum of Art. This museum was built in 1917 by architect Isaac Rapp. It is built in the Pueblo Revival a architectural style and is the oldest art museum in New Mexico. The New Mexico Museum of Art contains over twenty thousands works of art that spans the art colonies of Santa Fe and Taos. Artists represented by the works contained here include Bruce Naumann, Gloria Graham, Luis Jimenez, Georgia O’Keeffe, Allan Graham, Raymond Jonson, Francis Bacon, Gustave Baumann, Wolfgang Laib, Susan Rothenberg, Cordelia Wilson, Salvador Dali, T. C. Cannon, Maria Martinez, Paul Cezanne, Gerry Snyder, Gaston Lachaise, James Luna, Fritz Scholder, John Connell, Bill Barrett and Elliot Porter.
Museum of International Folk Art is another museum to check out in Santa Fe. This museum was established by Florence Dibell Bartlett in 1953 and has since gained international recognition for its collection of international folk art, which is considered to be the largest in the world. There are more than one hundred and thirty-five thousand artifacts which are located in four wings. These wings are named the Girard, Bartlett, Hispanic Heritage and Neutrogena. The Girard Wing contains popular and folk art, toys and textile from more than one hundred countries. There are dolls, costumes, masks, religious art, paintings and bead work contained here. The Bartlett Wing has rotating displays that are based on the museum’s collections and culture specific field studies. The Hispanic Heritage Wing is dedicated to Spanish and Hispanic art from around the world. The Neutrogena Collection has almost three thousand examples of textiles, carvings and ceramics from around the world.
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is another popular attraction in Santa Fe. It was founded by Edgar Lee Hewett in 1909, as a way to preserve Southwestern Native American culture. Then in 1927, John D. Rockefeller added the Laboratory of Anthropology to study the indigenous cultures of the Southwest. Fifty years later, the legislature of New Mexico designed a new museum of Indian culture and the facilities opened to the public in 1987. This museum contains over thirteen hundred objects on display that relate to Southwestern Native American culture.
Other popular attractions in the city of Santa Fe include the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Gallerie Zuger, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe Farmers Market, Rockin’ Rollers Event Arena, Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Kakawa Chocolate House, Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library, Santa Fe Traditional Flea Market, Randall Davey Audubon Center, Mountain Trails Gallery, Loretto Chapel, Ski Santa Fe, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, J.W. Eaves Movie Ranch, Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, Hyde Memorial Park, Santa Fe Balloon Company, Puye Cliffs, Santa Fe Plaza and Davis Mather Folk Art Gallery. The city is also home to fine restaurants and hotels. Prominent restaurants in the city include Geronimo Restaurant, Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Coyote Cafe, Pink Adobe, Santacafe, Compound Restaurant and the El Farol Restaurant & Lounge. Hotels in the city of Santa Fe include the Santa Fe Sage Inn, Eldorado Hotel & Spa, Inn and Spa at Loretto, Hotel Santa Fe, Hotel St Francis, Hotel Plaza Real and Inn of the Governors. And that is just a small sampling of the many exciting attractions located in this Southwestern city. There are also many parks, trails and exciting tours that are available in the area. There is something to do here for the entire family, and the city makes for a beautiful winter retreat.