Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is the oldest city in the US and lies seven thousand feet above sea level. The capital of the state of New Mexico is considered to be one of the most diverse capitals. Incredibly rich with history, art, and culture, Santa Fe is a beautiful gem in the south that people should visit. 

Geography And Climate Of Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico
View over Santa Fe, New Mexico, towards the Jemez Mountains.

Santa Fe is located in the north-central part of the state of New Mexico, in the northern Rio Grande Valley at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The area covered by the city is 37.4 square miles.

The city is located at 7000 ft above sea level, making it the highest state capital in the US. The second closest city in altitude is Cheyenne, Wyoming (6,062 ft), about a thousand feet lower than Santa Fe. Other well-known cities that are also lower in altitude than Santa Fe are Denver, Colorado (5,280 ft); Carson City, Nevada (4,802 ft); Salt Lake City, Utah (4,226 ft); and Helena, Montana (4,058 ft).

The Sanger de Cristo Mountain Range, Santa Fe

The climate of Santa Fe throughout the year consists of four seasons. Winters are cool, summers are warm and sometimes hot, and falls and springs have moderate temperatures. The average temperature in Santa Fe ranges from 14°F to 40°F in winter and from 55°F to 86°F in summer. Santa Fe receives 2-3 inches of rain per month in summer and about 5 inches of snow per month in winter. The snowy winters are fantastic for mountain skiing and attract many tourists fond of winter activities.

Demographics Of Santa Fe

The latest demographics show that the majority of the population is white, leading by 88.01% with 73,856 people. Other races all share the remaining 12% and are divided as follows: American Indian and Alaska Native 1.79% and 1,504 people. African Americans follow by 1.15% and 983 people. Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders are the fewest at 0.18% and 154 people. Other races and mixed races are the second-most in the city, with 7.7% and 6,460 people.

The History Of Santa Fe

santa fe history
Old Bent Fort Historic Site, Santa Fe

The City of Santa Fe dates back to 1050 when it hosted one of the earliest Pueblo Indian villages. The structures of the surrounding buildings along the main street still ooze with history related to early Indian settlements. This is obvious for visitors from the moment they enter the downtown area, also known as Santa Fe Plaza. 

The Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate made the first efforts to colonize the region in 1598, which established Santa Fe as a province of New Spain called Santa Fe de Nuevo at the time. Then, in 1607, the second Spanish governor of New Mexico founded a new city in the area and named it the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Asis and entitled it to be the province's capital.

The region witnessed several revolts, uprisings, and battles. Between 1680 and 1692, the region was in turmoil because of the Pueblo revolt, which resulted in the natives driving out the Spaniards. Years later, it witnessed a second conquest by the famous Spanish governor Don Diego de Vargas; the city consequently remained the pivotal capital it was meant to be. 

In 1846 when war broke out between the United States and Mexico, 1700 men were led to a battle in this city and stationed there. In 1848, Americans officially claimed the area as their own. Thus, Santa Fe formally became part of the US territory. 

In 1926, the American government decided to establish a road (Route 66) that connected the main parts of the state and cut through the City of Santa Fe. Travelers passed by the city for 11 years via this route. Many enjoyed their stay in the town and relished the culture, the food, and the people from different backgrounds.

Long after the closing down of the road, the city still holds on to the history of Route 66. It preserves historic motels and old street signs that were once iconic parts of the original path.

The Economy Of Santa Fe

santa fe buildings
Skyscrapers in Santa Fe

Like the entirety of the state of New Mexico, Santa Fe depends on tourism, natural resources, and government spending as pillars of its economy. The leading employer in the city is the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). As the state's capital, Santa Fe is the wealthiest in the state, with a per capita income of over $37,000. There are over 62,000 jobs in Santa Fe with a mean local annual salary of $48,580. The top four jobs in the city are office and administrative support with more than 8,500 workers, food preparation and serving with 8,000 employees, sales with over 6,500 employees, and business and financial operations with more than 4,000 employees.

Science And Technology In Santa Fe

Santa Fe Institute
Santa Fe Institute

Since 1943, the city of Santa Fe has been a proud host of science and technology. In 1943, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was established in Los Almos, near Santa Fe. The LANL provides scientific and engineering support to the national security programs and is only 45 minutes away from the city. Then, in 1984, the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) was founded for the research of complex systems in the physical, biological, economic, and political sciences; it hosted Nobel laureates like Murray Gell-Mann (physics), Philip Warren Anderson (physics), and Kenneth Arrow (economics).

Another important scientific landmark is The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR), founded in 1994. The institute focuses on research at the intersection of bioscience, computing, and mathematics. The 1990s and 2000s witnessed the rise of several technology companies dubbed later as the "Info Mass."

Attractions In Santa Fe

A Walkway in the Plaza in Downtown Santa Fe
A Walkway in the Plaza in Downtown Santa Fe

The city is now considered the third-largest art hub in the country after New York and Los Angeles.  Visitors have the opportunity to see the country's oldest church and the oldest house, where it will be possible to tour both. At the same time, they can enjoy old Indian architecture that is distinguished by being built using adobe bricks hundreds of years ago. Santa Fe is certainly retains beautiful Victorian, Italian, and Spanish architecture. 

Famous landmarks to visit include Canyon Road, a vibrant place that hosts hundreds of art galleries, studios, and workshops. The Santa Fe Opera House, where stunning performances take place each summer. The Plaza has been the city's heart for the past 400 years.

Santa Fe is most famous for its many museums in which mesmerizing artwork is hosted from all over the country. Here is the list of the most sought museums in the city:

Museums In The Plaza

New Mexico Museum of Art
New Mexico Museum of Art
  • New Mexico Museum of Art: Showcases collections of Southwestern Arts.
  • Institute of American Indian Arts Museum: Native American art influenced by politics and events that occurred throughout American history.
  • Georgia O'Keeffe Museum: Devoted to the life and work of the world-renowned artist Georgia O'Keeffe.
  • The History Museum: Located in the historic Palace of the Governors, showcases the history of Santa Fe.
  • Site Santa Fe: A contemporary art space of Southwestern contemporary art.

Museums In The Museum Hill District

Museum of Indian Arts, Santa Fe
Museum of Indian Arts, Santa Fe
  • Museum of International Folk Art: Showcases world crafts and folk arts
  • Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and Laboratory of Anthropology: Showcases Native American art.
  • Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian: Showcases Native American art and history.
  • Museum of Spanish Colonial Art: Dates back to the Spanish-colonial era.

Historical Churches

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe
Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe
  • San Miguel Mission: Built by Franciscan Friars in 1610, is formally the oldest church and one of the oldest structures in the country.
  • Loretto Chapel: A former Roman Catholic church that is now a museum, was commissioned in 1873.
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi: Commonly referred to as Saint Francis Cathedral, built between 1869 and 1886.
  • Holy Faith Episcopal Church: Oldest Episcopal church, built in 1863.
  • Santuario de Guadalupe: The 'Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe', was built in the 1770s.
  • The Scottish Rite Masonic Temple: Also known as Scottish Rite Cathedral or Santa Fe Lodge of Perfection, built in 1912.

Cuisine 

Food Stand, Downtown Santa Fe
Food Stand, Downtown Santa Fe

Santa Fe's food is the perfect blend of cultures and is represented by the Traditional New Mexican cuisine. This cuisine is a mix of Native American and Hispanic influences. A day in the town will make you accustomed to the people taking your order by asking you: "Red, green, or Christmas?" This is to ask what type of chilli sauce you prefer. The tourists will never bore of the food offered by the city, and it will always be an unforgettable savory experience.

Santa Fe will continue to be an exceptional cultural and artistic hub across the US. The low-cost living, the fantastic scenery, and the cultural diversity make the City one of the best cities to live in.

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