How Much do you Really Know About Albuquerque’s Historic Old Town?

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Can you sort fact from fiction?

Q.1 Most buildings in Old Town have been restored since they were constructed 3 centuries ago.

Fiction! A majority of the shops, galleries and restaurants in Old Town are made from original adobe, continuing with the Pueblo-Spanish style from the past.

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Q.2 San Felipe De Neri church is the newest addition to the Old Town Plaza.

Fiction! The church is the oldest part of Old Town.  Under the direction of Fray Manuel Moreno, the church was initially named San Francisco Xavier after the Viceroy of New Spain. Not long after the Duke of Alburquerque changed the name to San Felipe de Neri in honor of the King Philip of Spain.

Q.3 San Felipe De Neri church was built in its present form in 1793.

Fiction! Since 1793, the Church has added two towers and a convent on the west side of the church. It might look like one single building, but as you take a step back you’ll notice the differences between the structures.

Q.4 San Felipe De Neri church is built with 5 feet thick walls.

Fact! The church was originally built in 1792, but collapsed due to a rain storm.  To avoid another collapse, it was built with 5 feet thick walls and constructed into the shape of a cross.

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Q.5 Tourists currently walk on the grounds of the Camino Real trail that ran through Old Town.

Fact! El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, connected Mexico City with New Mexico’s Spanish capitals. The same plaza that is open today, was the route used to transport people, animals and goods to and from  New Mexico and distant places. The U.S. government now designates the trail.

Q.6 The architectural style in Old Town has remained the same since the very first traditional buildings were constructed.

Fiction! The arrival of the railroad here in 1880 brought new architectural styles, and there are many Victorian buildings that house shops, offices and bed-and-breakfasts.

Q.7 Long “portals” and “bancos” are part of the architecture seen on the historic buildings.

Fact! “Long portals” line the top of the flat roofed buildings, offering shade for the hotter days. “Bancos” or benches, are built into the back of the walls and are the perfect places to sit to enjoy the view of the plaza.

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Q.8 Old Town Albuquerque offers five museums and more than 100 shops, galleries and restaurants.

Fact! Old Town is truly a cultural center, that offers plenty to visitors.  Part of this adobe oasis is Nick Garcia’s Poco a Poco Patio, which continues the legacy from his grandfather who built the compound.

Q.9 New Mexico is the only state to have its own state cookie.

Fiction! However, New Mexico was the first state to have an official cookie in 1989, the biscochito. A biscochito is a smaller lard based cookie that is flavored with anise or cinnamon, it was developed from the first Spanish colonists of New Mexico.

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Q.10 More than 300 years after being formed, Old Town remains to be the heart of New Mexico.
Fact! Age sure does look good on this unique and historic plaza and as our legends continue so does our Albuquerque pride.
All of these fun facts were provided by Tours of Old Town, which continues to be one of the best ways to experience history on foot.  Tours combine informative and entertaining history and trivia that provides a memorable adventure for locals and visitors to the Land of Enchantment.  To book your tour or for more information, visit: toursofoldtown.com

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