This lovely stucco church has been standing across from town square for over two hundred years. It's the San Felipe de Neri Church, which has been a 'house of prayer' since 1793. It is the oldest Catholic parish in Albuquerque.
San Felipe has been placed on the National and State registry of historic places. There are plans to further restore this beautiful landmark and it is hoped that the public will want to be part of the project. The building is an adobe construction with 5 foot thick walls.
Sometime after the mid-1800's, Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy of Santa Fe coordinated some improvements to the building and added spires. The gables at the entrance and widow's walk were added by Jesuit Priests who traveled to Albuquerque from Naples.
The Parish museum can be visited from Monday-Saturday between 10am-4pm. Religious items, as well as, souvenirs can be purchased. For more history on this historic church see the website below.
Old Town was established in the early 1700's. A number of historic buildings have been restored and are now little shops, art galleries and restaurants.
Just as in Santa Fe, several Indian artisans were gathered beneath a sheltered walkway, displaying their wares. This was the main part of town until the railroad came to Albuquerque in 1880.
Across the street was a public park, where benches invited the weary to sit for a while (picture #3) and military cannons drew husbands and children over for a closer examination (picture #2). Those pictured are called Mountain Howitzers.
We didn't have the opportunity to see much of Albuquerque on our last visit, so it was interesting walking about the historic streets.
Shopping is a very popular activity in Old Town, and it's easy to understand why. With over 25 art galleries and almost 100 boutiques and shops in total, there are plenty of places for purchases You may want to browse around the shops to get a good idea of prices, then make your selections.
Take a Walking Tour. Docent-led tours start at the Albuquerque Museum, or pick up their self-guided tour brochure. For a spooky good time, take an evening tour with New Mexico Ghost Tours and learn where the haunts hang out.
Several fine museums cluster around Old Town. They include:
Turquoise Museum (2107 Central Ave. NW, next to Walgreen's) - A good place to learn about turquoise and silver jewelry to prepare for a shopping expedition.
Albuquerque Museum of Art, History and Science - The museum explains 400 years of New Mexico history. Old Town walking tours start from here, and they have some nice children's exhibits including a dress-up area. Pick up a copy of their self-guided walking tour if you can't make the guided one.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science - A fun museum where science comes to life. Features include a life-sized Quetzalcoatlus soaring in the atrium, a planetarium show, a walk-through volcano and a comet-busting adventure ride.
American International Rattlesnake Museum (202 San Felipe NW) - Located inside a gift shop, they claim to have the world's largest collection of live rattlesnakes.
Old Town is cool to check out, but it is heavily built up for tourists. There are many, many shops, though most of them seem to carry the same thing over and over again. If you want southwestern art, then by all means check this place out. Just keep in mind that Old Town is for the tourists basically.
If you love ghosts, spirits and mysterious specters, you will want to take New Mexico Ghost Tours nighttime, lantern lit walking tour of the oldest part of Albuquerque- Old town.
You will hear stories of slain lovers and hanged outlaws whos spirits are said to walk the streets of Old town, and are sometimes spotted during the tours themselves.
The Ghost Walk Of old Town is conducted by the members of the Southwest Ghost Hunter's Association. Go to their website for information on tickets and reservations.
You can see Old Town in a couple of hours. San Felipe de Neri on the square is cool to see. Maybe you can find something of interest from one of the Indian craftsmen. Maybe you are getting hungry and have a hankering for something French? This square is from where Albuquerque grew outward. Very touristy.
As said in the introduction, we were only here for the day, so a quick trip to the old town was the best we could do with the time we had. The old town is relatively authentic and not overly restored or commercialized relative to so other cities. The Church, unfortunately, is not the original adobe structure, but it still has some age to it. The souvenir shops are mostly filled with junk though, so spend your money elsewhere. The prices of jewelry and other authentic Indian wear is simply too high here. The restaurant we dined at though was quite good and had a view of the plaza.
Old Town is given to the historic quarter of the city. Here, one may see a variety of historic buildings dating to the 18th and 19th Centuries. Many of them have been converted into shops and eateries. The whole area is quite pleasant to stroll through.
Amongst the important historic buildings is the San Felipe de Neri Church. First founded in 1706. (See picture).
Old Town is what remains of the original village, La Villa de Alburquerque, founded in 1706.
The buildings have obviously a hispanic look and the whole arrangement of the old town seems like an old hispanic or latin american village. Although a little bit touristy Albuquerque old town still is worth a stroll.
Around the church there are many shops, art galleries and patios and moreover several of Albuquerque's museums.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, San Felipe de Neri church is the oldest Catholic parish in Albuquerque. It was founded in 1706, although the church that is currently on the site is not the original. The church is constructed of adobe walls which are 5 feet thick, thereby giving it warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. You can enter the church, and there is a small museum out in the back courtyard. More history and facts can be found in the church site listed below
We were in Albuquerque right after Christmas time, so the square was dressed up festively. I took a picture of this tree because it actually is a tree made up of smaller Christmas trees. They take the trunk of the trees and place them toward the center, thus each tree is a "branch" Another facinating thing in Albuquerque are the luminarials (I think I spelled that right!) These are small, paper bags, lined with sand, and a candle placed in the bottom. The candle is lit at night to create what is probably the first "Christmas lights". Houses are lined with these bags. It's quite a site to behold!
Old Town Albuquerque is the place to just relax. The place is laid out much like old Spanish and Latin American town squares, with a "zocalo" in the middle, and shops and a church around the parameter. You can stroll along and look at the many different crafts the indians have to sell, a lot of it is beautiful. The website below gives more details on the shops available.
Old Town was the original village where it all began. In 1706 La Villa de Alburquerque was founded. From that small village the city of Albuquerque grew. Old Town is definately worth a stroll. Lots of shopping and art galleries.
San Felipe de Neri, an active parish church, is located in Old Town Plaza in downtown Albuquerque.
Unfortunately, I visited on a Sunday and services were being held at that time. I am not a churchgoer and did not wish to intrude merely for the sake of a tourist's interest.
Consequently, the following information was obtained from the National Park Service website.
"San Felipe de Neri was built in 1793 to replace the original 1706 mission church. The adobe church is built in the traditional colonial style with Spanish overtones and mixtures of 18th and 19th century decorative and building elements. The interior has wood paneled wainscoting, a stamped metal ceiling, an elaborate altar and plaster walls painted to resemble marble. San Felipe de Neri Church presents an interesting combination of the old and new building traditions of New Mexico."
Located down one of many of the beautiful winding paths in 'Old Town' Albuquerque, this chapel did more for me that the San Felipe de Neri Church itself - located adjacent and slightly to the right.
Reputed to be haunted by a lady in black, I felt no negativity upon entering. I felt nothing but good, positive energy and it was the 'safest' I felt since being in this city. While the tourists are shopping the shops and awing at the church, it could be easy to miss this little chapel gem.
The smell of roses overpowers you and makes you feel serene and at peace. This is truly an uplifting chapel to be in. Be respectful of the candles, pictures, and prayers left behind. Even non-religious people will enjoy the quaintness of this place.