Must-See in New Mexico: Aztec Ruins

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico© 2009 New Mexico Tourism DepartmentDespite the name, it was the Pueblos who built a twelfth-century city on the edge of present-day Carson National Forest.

Ruins Rd., Aztec, Mew Mexico

Early explorers and scholars mistakenly believed these ruins had been built by the Aztecs in ancient times rather than by the ancestral Pueblo peoples that had actually inhabited the area. The centerpiece at Aztec Ruins is a 450-room structure built in the early 1100s, known today as West Ruin. In the central plaza of West Ruin lies the reconstructed great kiva, a circular semi-subterranean structure used for ceremonial purposes. In the surrounding fields are an elaborate complex of roads and buildings, including other kivas.

The first builders at the site emulated the building techniques and artistic traditions of the southern Chaco Canyon. Differences in masonry and architectural styles distinguish earlier constructions from later additions, which borrow from the northern Pueblo peoples of Mesa Verde.

An easy half-mile self-guiding trail leads through part of the ruins, allowing you to study the masonry and the interiors of the rooms. The ceilings here are original, and the green sandstone band running the length of the west wall is unique to this structure. The visitors center exhibits weaving, basketry, some fine pottery, and a 25-minute video with more background. The area was named a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Open daily year-round except holidays. Admission charged.

(505) 334-6174

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.