Monday, June 27, 2011

Day Trips: High Road to Taos, Part 3 in a Series

Las Trampas
Leaving Truchas and continuing on NM 76 towards the village of Las Trampas, enjoy a spectacular vista as the valley opens before you, with the Truchas Peaks rising on the eastern horizon. 

Founded in 1751, by a Spanish land grant entitled Santo Tomas Apostol del Rio de las Trampas, (Saint Thomas, Apostle of the River of Traps), Las Trampas was settled by 12 families from Santa Fe. Located in the valley between Truchas and Picuris, Las Trampas is approximately halfway between Taos and Santa Fe, on what is now the High Road to Taos. As with other communities established at that time, the village was built around a plaza. When the village came under attack, the entrances to the plaza could be blocked to create a fortress. And the village did survive numerous attacks, as well as a smallpox epidemic.

Of note is the church of San Jose de Gracia at Las Trampas, one of the finest examples of the parish church still existing, with outstanding reredos, or altar screens, painted by well-known santeros. Parish churches were a more elaborate structure, based on the original mission churches which were established by the Spanish in New Mexico. The mission churches were simple rectangular structures of adobe bricks with flat wood beam ceilings. They were fashioned after the fortified churches of Mexico, with tall, bright, white-washed interiors. Constructed of the same materials, the parish churches evolved into a cross-shaped plan like the great cathedrals of Mexico and Spain. To the exterior of the mission church were added one or two simple bell towers.

Travelers coming from the direction of Santa Fe, on the High Road to Taos, first see San Jose De Gracia as they round a bend in the mountain road and descend into the village. The church sits peacefully in the middle of the village, as it has for centuries. If the doors to the church are open, visitors are welcome to enter the church and view the works of art by local artisans which adorn the interior of the church. ~Aimee

Learn more about Trampas at Taos Unlimited

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