On the road near the entrance to the plaza where the church lies is Truchas General Store. Like the church this was closed when we visited, probably because it was a Sunday. A shame, as peering through the window we could see a place seemingly untouched by the passing of the years. I would love to have gone in and ferreted about!
The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is a classic adobe structure built in the early 19th century at the heart of this tiny village. Apparently it contains two large altar-screens (reredos) by a renowned santero, Pedro Antonio Fresquis, and other fine examples of early santero art. These were preserved during the Bishop Lamy led modernisations of churches in this area by Truchas residents who hid them in their houses during the late 19th century.
I say “apparently” because unfortunately on the day of our visit it was closed. Not that I was surprised – our Moon Handbook had warned that it was usually only open from June to August. Nevertheless it was well worth the detour to see it, as it’s a very photogenic church.
Of all the villages we stopped in on the High Road to Taos, Truchas seemed the most closed in on itself, even slightly hostile to visitors. This is not to say that anybody was rude to us – indeed the only person I spoke to, the owner of the Hand Artes studio, was friendly and welcoming. But there was a slightly brooding atmosphere, or so it seemed to me. Maybe it is the fact that it lies a little off the main road, and until thirty years or so ago had no paved access? Maybe it is the way it is constructed, with most of the older buildings having their “backs” turned to the road, facing into the central plaza? Maybe I was affected by the somewhat aggressive barking of an invisible dog in a nearby yard?
Or maybe my impression was created by the seeming obsession with the bones of dead animals. Not only were these skulls slightly artfully arranged on a ladder propped in a corner of the plaza, but there was also a slightly bizarre heap of bones, bleached white by the sun, stacked against one of the adobe walls that surround the little church (photo two). We weren’t quite sure what to make of this “arrangement” but it certainly gave the village a distinctive touch!