To find the heart and soul of Taos you don’t have to look much further than our plaza. Settled over 400 years ago by Spanish colonists, it still retains its original shape, though not its original use.
Designed for defense with entrances that could be easily barricaded during colonization, the plaza of today is open with gardens, shops, and is of course anchored by the Hotel La Fonda de Taos. The Spanish had established a good relationship with the residents of the pueblo until a revolt in 1680 that drove the Spanish out. Don Diego de Vargas came to Taos to establish respect between the indigenous people and the Spanish and by 1710 had regained the territory.
In 1796, more than five dozen Spanish families were granted land in the Taos Valley and part of that grant included the Taos Plaza (known then as the Don Fernando de Taos).
By 1850, New Mexico was an official United States territory after the 1847 Taos Revolt. In 1912, the Taos Society of Artists was formed and Taos established itself as an artistic community.
The plaza acts as the center of the Taos Downtown Historic District and is a popular tourist destination with shops and galleries and hosts many cultural events and live music in the summer. The Taos Plaza reflects the diverse cultures and influences that shaped its history and continue to show in its present form.
Hotel La Fonda de Taos has been a part of the Plaza’s history since 1820 when it was known as the St. Vrain Mercantile Store, which sold goods and acted as a saloon and hotel. It changed hands many times until being run by local Taos figure Saki Karavas from 1953 to 1996. When you stay at Hotel La Fonda, you’re experiencing living history and the past is practically out the front door.