For over 2,000 years, Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture – it has an ancient urban ceremonial centre that is unlike anything constructed before or since. In addition to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the World Heritage property includes the Aztec Ruins National Monument and several smaller Chaco sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Chaco Culture is a network of archaeological sites in northwestern New Mexico which preserves outstanding elements of a vast pre-Columbian cultural complex that dominated much of what is now the southwestern United States from the mid-9th to early 13th centuries. It includes Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the associated sites at Aztec Ruins National Monument, and five additional protected archaeological areas. The Chacoan society reached its height between about 1020 and 1110.These sites were a focus for ceremonies, trade, and political activity and they are remarkable for their monumental public and ceremonial buildings and distinctive multi-storey “great houses.” The sites were linked by an elaborate system of carefully engineered and constructed roads, many of which can still be traced. These achievements are particularly remarkable given the harsh environment of the region.
The highly organized large-scale structures, featuring multi-storey construction and sophisticated coursed masonry, illustrate the increasing complexity of Chaco social structure, which distinguished itself within the regional culture of the ancestral Pueblo and dominated the area for more than four centuries. The high incidence of storage areas indicate the probability that the Chacoans played a central economic role, and the great size and unusual features of the ceremonial kivas suggest that complex religious ceremony may have been significant in their lives.
Criterion (iii): The Chaco Canyon sites graphically illustrate the architectural and engineering achievements of the Chacoan people, who overcame the harshness of the environment of the southwestern United States to found a culture that dominated the area for more than four centuries.
Farmington is a town in the northwest region of the state of New Mexico, United States of America. It is notable as a gateway to Navajo Nation and the Four Corners area, and as a center for folk art, particularly Navajo weavings. Attractions associated with the nearby towns of Aztec, Bloomfield, Kirtland and Shiprock, about the nearest things that highly rural northwestern New Mexico has to “suburbs,” are also covered in this article. Farmington is known for its outstanding recreational facilities and events, annually hosting the Connie Mack World Series, the XTERRA Four Corners Off-Road Triathlon and The Road Apple Rally, the longest running annual mountain bike race in the country. World class trout fishing on the San Juan River, below the Navajo Dam, and golf at Pinon Hills Golf Course are top attractions year-around. Farmington is one of the top places to obtain Navajo rugs and other arts and crafts of the Navajo [read more].
Rio Rancho is the largest city and economic hub of Sandoval County, part of the expansive Albuquerque Metropolitan Area, in the U.S. state of New Mexico. A small portion of the city extends into northern Bernalillo County. It is the third-largest and also one of the fastest expanding cities in New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, Rio Rancho had a population of 93,820. The name Rio Rancho derives from Los Ranchos (the ranches) that stretched along the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque Basin, and throughout historic Nuevo México, including those in neighboring Corrales. The great majority of Rio Rancho was originally part of the Town of Alameda Grant, which was founded by Spanish settlers in 1710. By the early 20th century, much of the land grant had been sold to land investment companies. Amrep Corporation purchased 55,000 acres (22,000 ha) in 1961 and turned the land into a housing development called “Rio Rancho Estates”, with the first families moving in the early 1960s [read more].
Albuquerque is a vibrant, sprawling city near the center of New Mexico. Cradled in the Rio Grande Valley beneath the Sandia Mountains, it is by far the largest city in the state, acting as the media, educational, and economic center of New Mexico, as well as the home of the state’s only major airport, making it a common entry point into New Mexico. Despite this, Albuquerque is often overshadowed as a tourist destination by Santa Fe, 60 mi (97 km) to the north. But any visit to New Mexico would be incomplete without taking in what Albuquerque has to offer, as New Mexico’s only major city has pleasant scenery, colorful history, and a wealth of great attractions in its own right. Here, in a setting that has been made familiar to many by the television series Breaking Bad, you’ll find many excellent museums, colorful neon signs along old Route 66, the naturalistic beauty of the Rio Grande and the Sandia Mountains, and a spectacular hot-air balloon festival in the fall [read more].