Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all.
New Mexico, a southwestern state with deserts and mountains, combines beauty with rich history and a diverse population. The state’s high percentage of Hispanics includes descendants of the Spanish colonists who arrived 400 years ago. The American Indian population is mostly Navajo, Pueblo and Apache. New Mexico’s culture mixes Spanish, Indian and Anglo influences.
Santa Fe, the capital, and Taos are famous for their art scenes and Pueblo-style adobe architecture. In August, Santa Fe’s Indian Market showcases American Indian artisans. And in September, the city’s Fiesta de Santa Fe celebrates Hispanic heritage.
White Sands National Monument, located near Alamogordo, has rippling sand dunes of white gypsum, endlessly shifting in the wind. Visitors can sled down the dunes and wander barefoot across the vast, beach-like terrain.
Made by hand
In Santa Fe, the Museum of International Folk Art showcases creativity with collections of objects from more than 100 countries. Toys, dolls, costumes and textiles are among the treasures found here, and the museum serves as a resource for scholars and artists from around the world.
Ship Rock, rising 482 meters above the high-desert plain of the Navajo Nation, is the most prominent landmark in northwestern New Mexico. Its name comes from its resemblance to a huge, 19th-century clipper ship. The monument is held sacred by members of the Navajo Nation.
About 60 kilometers from Santa Fe, near Cochiti Lake, stands Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, with rock formations that look like tents with pointed tips. The site was shaped roughly 7 million years ago by volcanic ash and lava fragments.
The annual Gathering of Nations — held in Albuquerque — bills itself as the world’s largest powwow (an American Indian social gathering that honors tribal cultures). Members of 700 U.S. and Canadian tribes, including the dancer shown above, perform in singing and dancing competitions, and visitors are welcome.
The truth is out there
Roswell, New Mexico, is forever associated with a UFO (unidentified flying object) “incident” in 1947, although the alleged crash site is 121 kilometers away. Alien sightings have been reported, and the town’s International UFO Museum and Research Center is devoted to theories of extraterrestrial life. Many of the town’s restaurants are alien-themed. Bon appétit!