Last week we spent some time in our Santa Fe trip visiting churches and art galleries. This week, we continue our walk around the old city with stops at the State Capitol Building and the Governor’s Palace and Museum. Santa Fe has held the title of Capital City since 1610 when it became the capital city of the Kingdom of New Mexico, a Spanish colony. When the territory won its independence from Spain as part of Mexican Independence, the Mexican government named Santa Fe as the capital of Nuevo Mexico, then in 1846 when the territory became part of the United States, the Governor’s Palace became the territorial capitol. Visitors today will find the Governor’s Palace is now a museum and the State Capitol Building is the only round capitol building in the country.
The four-story building has a stained glass rotunda ceiling resembles a basket weave design in Native American crafts. The design depicts the earth and the sky. The central rotunda is three stories tall and the fourth story is underground beneath the travertine floor of the rotunda.
The Travertine from New Mexico features a mosaic of the New Mexico State Seal. The view of the seal in the photo above is captured from the third floor of the building. One of the features of the building is the Capitol Art Collection. Over 600 pieces in the art collection are displayed in the public areas of the building and grounds. More photos of the Capitol are included in the gallery that accompanies this post.
The Palace of the Governors was the seat of government for the Spanish territory in what was to become the American Southwest. The 17th century adobe structure is now a part of the larger New Mexico History Museum, housed in a modern building adjacent to the Palace. In the photo above, a portrait of an early Governor stands watch over the Governor’s desk and chair.
An old stage is one of the exhibits in the Governor’s Palace. The old building features many exhibits of early New Mexican artifacts. The palace is not a large museum, so it won’t take long to browse through the exhibits. From the palace, a short walk through a courtyard will take you to the much larger New Mexico History Museum.
The museum is divided into several sections, as are most museums. It would be easy to spend an afternoon or all day here, but we would soon be on our way. A few more exhibits are included in the gallery of images below. Unfortunately, it was time for us to leave.
After a short walk through town on a crisp, cool fall day to the depot, we browsed the gift shop while we sipped on hot coffee and awaited the arrival of the Rail Runner for our trip home. Just for fun, I included a couple of photos taken from the train windows on our trip home. We even happened to catch part of a rainbow. The lights in the train car and the reflections in the train window notwithstanding, I don’t mind sharing the photos of the New Mexican countryside, even though they aren’t my best work. You’ll find them in the gallery below.