Northeast Arizona Sights


First Mesa

First Mesa Review

First Mesa villages are renowned for their polychrome pottery and kachina-doll carvings. The older Hopi villages have structures built of rock and adobe mortar in simple architectural style. Hano actually belongs to the Tewa, a New Mexico Pueblo tribe. In 1696 the Tewa Indians sought refuge with the Hopi on First Mesa after an unsuccessful rebellion against the Spanish in the Rio Grande Valley. Today the Tewa live close to the Hopi but maintain their own language and ceremonies.

Sichomovi is built so close to Hano that only the residents can tell where one ends and the other begins. Constructed in the mid-1600s, this village is believed to have been built to ease overcrowding at Walpi, the highest point on the mesa. Walpi, built on solid rock and surrounded by steep cliffs, frequently hosts ceremonial dances. It's the most pristine of the Hopi villages, with cliff-edge houses and vast scenic vistas. Inhabited for more than 1,100 years (dating back to 900 AD), Walpi's cliff-edge houses seem to grow out of the nearby terrain. Today only about 10 residents occupy this settlement, which has neither electricity nor running water; one-hour guided tours of the village are available daily, except when certain ceremonies are taking place (call for hours). Note that Walpi's steep terrain makes it a less than ideal destination for acrophobes.

Updated: 05-22-2014

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