Friday, June 23, 2017

New Mexico State Capitol

As I walked along the streets of Santa Fe to the State Capitol, I passed many restaurants and shops. It is such a unique town with it's Indian/Mexican/Spanish culture.

I passed the Santa River river where young boys and their fathers were fishing for trout.  One family had caught several fish, which I assumed they would be eating for dinner.

It was still early in the morning and the temperature was nice.  Santa Fe is located at 7,200 feet and the climate is warm days and cool evenings.

Visiting all 50 capitols is on my bucket list and I wanted to make sure that I explored New Mexico's State Capitol.  The Santa Fe capitol is unique, in that, it is the only Round State Capitol. The Capitol is known informally as "the Roundhouse".  The Roundhouse is the fourth Capitol building of New Mexico. The Palace of the Governors, which now houses the state's history museum, used to be the house of government in Santa Fe for nearly three centuries.

The Roundhouse was dedicated on December 8, 1966.

I got to the Capitol just as the doors were opening for the day.  A young man greeted me as I walked in and asked me to sign the visitor's sheet.  He explained the building and the four levels.

The first level houses the house and senate chambers.  They were not in session.

The second level is the floor that visitors enter.  The Rotunda in the center of the building is inlaid with a turquoise and brass mosaic of the great seal.  The seal is New Mexico's Zia sun symbol, which is associated with the Land of Enchantment.  It is inspired by a design found on a 19th century water jar from Zia Pueblo.  The design is a circular sun with linear rays extending in four directions.  Four is a significant number, as it is embodied in the four directions of the earth, the four seasons of the year; the four times of the day(sunrise, noon, evening and night); and life's four divisions of childhood, youth, adulthood and old age.

From the Rotunda, you can look up and see the skylight, which is 60 feet from the floor.  It represents an Indian basket weave; the blue represents the sky and the pale pink the earth.

Also on the second floor, various artwork was exhibited.  There were beautiful, colorful quilts that local artists had weaved, which were displayed.

The third level houses committee rooms and offices and also features a lot of the Capitol Art Collection.  This collection features contemporary masterworks by artists who live and work in New Mexico.

The fourth level houses the offices of the governor, the lieutenant governor and the Legislative Council Service.

If you are ever in Santa Fe, make sure you go by the Capitol.  There are select times for a tour guide or you can do your own self-guided tour.








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