Jemez State Monument Heritage Area

Jemez State Monument Heritage Area

The village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez (walatowa) Pueblo. In the 17th century, the Spanish established a Catholic mission at the village. The mission was short-lived, and, in time, the people abandoned the site and moved to the current location of Jemez Pueblo. The heritage center contains exhibitions that tell the story of the site through the words of the Jemez people. A 1,400-foot interpretive trail winds through the impressive site ruins. Between 1621 and 1625, the Franciscans designed a massive, stonewalled church and convento (priests quarters) at Giusewa. They named their church San José de los Jémez. This mission complex was constructed with Pueblo labor. The church is unusual for its massive size and rare, octagonal bell tower. Colorful frescos that once decorated the interior walls were revealed during archaeological excavations in 1921 and 1922. San José de los Jémez was abandoned by 1640, likely as a result of forced labor and religious persecution by the Spanish.