On Friday we spent about 3 hours walking through Historic Old Town Albuquerque.
The Villa de Albuquerque was founded on April 23, 1706. Spanish law at that time required that a plaza be created in the center of any villa. That is why you see so many plazas in the towns that were once part of Spanish Mexico.
The Historic Old Town district is about 10 blocks of old buildings set around the plaza. There are more than 24 art galleries, and over 100 stores and several restaurants in the district.
While in Rockdale we mentioned that El Camino Real de los Tejas, which connected Mexico City with the Missions across Texas and into Louisiana, went through the town. Camino Real is a Royal Road, not all roads in Spanish Mexico were Royal Roads, only those that connected Mexico to royal land grants or interests. The road that went through Albuquerque is El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the Royal Road of the interior lands, which connected Mexico City with Santa Fe. El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro went through the plaza in Albuquerque. An extension of the Santa Fe Trail also went through the plaza and connected the lands west of the Rio Grande with Santa Fe and the markets in the United States.
There is a beautiful church, San Felipe de Neri, on the plaza that has been in continuous use for over 3 centuries. The church was started in 1706, the original building was completed in 1719 and stood on the Northwest side of the plaza. The original church collapsed under the weight of heavy rains in 1792. The current church was built on the North side of the plaza in 1793 and has been expanded several times. It was added to the national Register of Historic Places in October 1969.
We had lunch at La Placita restaurant on the East side of the Plaza. The restaurant is in a historic building which was originally a hacienda. We dined in the covered courtyard which has a full size tree growing through the roof. Elaine has a beef fajita sandwich, and I had two cheese enchiladas with rice and beans. Anyone that knows me, my test of Mexican food is cheese enchiladas. The food was excellent.
There was a band playing in one of the courtyards. The featured instrument was a Pan Flute. There were various sizes of the flutes. We didn’t know that anyone really played that flute but the band had CDs for sale.
We enjoyed the visit to Old Town Albuquerque, it was a quiet place, ideal for walking and viewing the beautiful buildings and plaza.