Old Town Albuquerque
The docent-led walking tour of Old Town met in the lobby of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. After brief introductions, we followed Pat and Julie our docents, through a side door, walked a short distance pass several statues in the museum's outdoor sculpture garden, then entered one of several placitas through the Poco a Poco portal. Once inside the placita or little plaza, our docents told us about the design and use of placitas.
This placita was originally built to accommodate an extended family of up to 50 people in different wings of a single dwelling.
As a defense against invading enemy, the thick adobe placita walls were built with no windows and only one gateway wide enough to accommodate a single horse.
The placita was intended to be largely self-sufficient with a well for water and a garden for vegetables.
The adobe houses had a bowl shaped roof that extended three to four feet beyond the walls to move water away from the base of the building. The bowl shaped roof also allowed its residents to hunker down during an attack but to also retain the elevation needed for look-outs.
The exterior of the adobe homes had to be recoated several times each year. That task fell to the youngest daughter since she was expected to live the longest and could pass on the tradition and knowledge to others.
Today, most of the Old Town placitas are home to restaurants, cafes, art galleries, souvenir shops, jewelry stories, and southwestern clothing and crafts.
Next stop on Old Town Walking Tour - Our Lady of Guadalupe Tree Carving