Coronado Historic Site | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

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Coronado Historic Site

Kiva ladder at Coronado.

More than 700 years ago, on the fertile west bank of the Rio Grande just north of Albuquerque, the Tiwa people settled Kuaua Pueblo. Coronado Historic Site is named after the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who camped near here with his soldiers in 1540. Kuaua, which means “evergreen,” was abandoned during the late 16th century.

A square kiva, excavated in 1935, revealed mural paintings now deemed the finest precontact mural art in North America. Visitors, accompanied by a ranger or docent, may descend into this sacred site. Reconstructed adobe walls echo the original pueblo.

The Visitor’s Center, which was designed by architect John Gaw Meem, features 14 original murals on display along with artifacts and information. An interpretive trail winds through the ruins, and ranger-led tours are available.

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