The Church of San Francisco de Asis

Taos, New Mexico

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From outside the grounds


In front of the church


The south side and rear




The rear of the church

Rear view from the North

Close up of the rear wall



The north side and rear


The south side and rear


The north side and rear


The Church of San Francisco de Asis Mission Church is located on the plaza in Ranchos de Taos, itself a historic district named Ranchos de Taos Plaza, about four miles southwest of the town of Taos, New Mexico.

Celebrating 300 years, the historic “Ranchos Church” was built in the mid to late 1700’s, and is the only original church which remains intact in the Taos area. San Francisco de Asis Church continues to be an integral part of the spiritual community. It has been artistically recorded by 20th Century artists, Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams, and others who were fascinated by its adobe contours and sculptural buttresses. Their artful depictions of the rustic architecture of San Francisco de Asis have made the church nationally famous.

San Francisco Plaza was originally an old u-shaped Spanish military garrison that once surrounded the church. Today, shops, galleries, trading posts, and restaurants have replaced the old adobe stables, barracks, and living quarters.

Every June, parishioners and the community volunteers gather to re-plaster the church in adobe. This annual project is called “The Enjarre,” or “the mudding” of the church. Since the church is the heart of the community many people are moved to help preserve the church’s historicity. By mixing clay, sand, straw, and water into thick mud it is applied to the surface, layer upon layer, until the entire adobe structure, from top to bottom which becomes resilient to the elements. The result of "the mudding" is that over time the shape of the church changes since the mud is applied free hand.