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Second Mesa

Second Mesa Review

The Mesas are the Hopi universe, and Second Mesa is the "Center of the Universe." Shungopavi, the largest and oldest village on Second Mesa, which was founded by the Bear Clan, is reached by a paved road angling south off AZ 264, between the junction of AZ 87 and the Hopi Cultural Center. The villagers here make silver overlay jewelry and coil plaques. Coil plaques are woven from galleta grass and yucca and are adorned with designs of kachinas, animals, and corn. The art of making the plaques has been passed from mother to daughter for generations, and fine coil plaques have become highly sought-after collector's items. The famous Hopi snake dances (closed to the public) are held here in August during even-numbered years.

Two smaller villages are off a paved road that runs north from AZ 264, about 2 miles east of the Hopi Cultural Center. Mishongnovi, the easternmost settlement, was established in the late 1600s.

Sipaulovi Hopi Information Center. Set on a high mesa with views for more than 100 miles in every direction, Sipaulovi was originally at the base of the mesa before moving to its present site in 1680. You can learn more about the community and its centuries-old traditions by watching a video at the small visitor center and taking one of the guided walking tours through the community. On these tours you have the chance to stop by local studios and talk with artists. 928/737–5426. www.sipaulovihopiinformationcenter.org. Guided tours $15. Tours weekdays 8–4.

Hopi Cultural Center. You can stop for the night, learn about the people and their communities, and eat authentic Hopi cuisine. The museum here is dedicated to preserving Hopi traditions and to presenting those traditions to non-Hopi visitors. A gift shop sells works by local Hopi artisans at reasonable prices, and a modest picnic area on the west side of the building is a pleasant spot for lunch with a view of the San Francisco Peaks. AZ 264, Second Mesa, 86043. 928/734–2401. www.hopiculturalcenter.com. Museum $3. Mid-Mar.–Oct., weekdays 8–5, weekends 9–3; Nov.–mid-Mar., weekdays 8–5.

Updated: 03-11-2013

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