Ruins and sacred places: village of Giusewa and San José de los Jemez church
At the northern end of the small community of Jemez Springs is the Jemez Historic Site, a.k.a. Jemez State Monument. The headquarters building houses a small museum illustrating the history of the ruins on the site, which include the remains of a 16th century pueblo community (Giusewa) and a Spanish mission constructed in 1621.
To those paying their first visit, the initial view of the massive mission walls and looming bell tower is bound to be a memorable one. The surrounding cliffs and ridgelines add to the drama of the setting, as did the lowering clouds on the day I was fortunate enough to be there.
Treading quietly through these ruins, it’s impossible not to cast one’s thoughts back to their original inhabitants—both European and Native American—and wonder what life would have been like for them in this isolated canyon, with the great stone walls of the mission commanding their vision, and demanding their constant attention.
Was it a burden or a blessing?