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While some cities gleam with metal skyscrapers, Albuquerque proudly shows off its low adobe buildings whose earth-colored hues contrast beautifully against our brilliant blue skies. This ABQ Ride bus wrap is so realistic that you can practically feel the rough texture of the sun-warmed adobe and smell the aroma of chile ristras hanging out to dry.
Adobe houses have been sheltering the area’s residents since Native Americans started building with mud-and-straw bricks in the 1400s. The thick walls and flat roofs of adobe structures are ideal for the high desert climate, keeping the indoor temperature cool in the summer and retaining heat in the winter.
In the Albuquerque area, some of the best examples of adobe architecture can be found in historic Old Town. Many Old Town shops, restaurants and galleries operate in adobe buildings that date to the 1700s. San Felipe de Neri Church, located on the plaza in Old Town, was constructed in 1793 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The exterior walls of adobe buildings often are adorned with red chile ristras, an arrangement of chile pepper pods tied together with string. The chile is hung up to dry for later cooking or used simply as a decoration. Ristras are a symbol of welcome and said to bring good luck.
Many adobe structures also have exposed vigas, which are the wooden beams that support the weight of the roof. Made of cured, peeled logs, the vigas often project several feet beyond the building’s exterior walls and are a defining characteristic of Pueblo and Spanish Colonial architecture.
You’ll also notice that the wooden window frames and doors of many adobe structures are painted turquoise. Turquoise is New Mexico’s state gem, and the stone is considered sacred in Native American culture. Some believe the tradition of painting doors turquoise began as a way to keep evil spirits away. Today, the blue doors are a symbol of good luck, hospitality and welcome. Look for them as you walk through the charming streets of Old Town and explore more than 150 shops, galleries and restaurants featuring Southwestern art, jewelry and authentic New Mexican food!
The City of Albuquerque and Visit Albuquerque wrapped ABQ Ride buses with three authentically Albuquerque designs. To read more, click here.