Coronado Historic Site
Nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande, Coronado Historic Site is a complex knot of fable and truth. The site is home to the footprint of Kuaua Pueblo, built around 1300 CE by Tiwa Pueblo people. Here, the Pueblo peoples built a thriving community of abundance and resilience, shaped by their desert environment. In 1540, the diverse group of Spanish colonists Francisco Vásquez de Coronado brought with him to the valleu included the Indigenous people from Mexico, adding to the complex mix of cultures, ideas, and claims to the land. Kuaua Pueblo and the colonists supported each other and clashed, and eventually, the people of Kuaua relocated to other villages in the early 1600s.
Today, Coronado Historic Site tells the story of Kuaua Pueblo. The site reflects how the community's architecture, art, cuisine, and learning all draw from the surrounding desert landscape, informed by generations of trial and error, sharing, and knowledge building. A square kiva, excavated in 1935, revealed mural paintings now deemed the finest precontact mural art in North America. Visitors, accompanied by a ranger or docent, may descend into this sacred site. Reconstructed adobe walls echo the original pueblo.
The Visitor’s Center, which was designed by architect John Gaw Meem, features 14 original murals on display along with artifacts and information. An interpretive trail winds through the ruins, and ranger-led tours are available.
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