New Mexico is the 47th state in the United States. It is also one of the least densely populated states in relation to its land area. Like many other states, New Mexico had been under Spanish and then Mexican rule (but only for a short time) before becoming a US territory and eventually a US state. New Mexico is unique for its strong Hispanic and Native American influences — as evident in its state flag, and several government-sanctioned Native American territories for instance. The state capital is Santa Fe and the largest city is Albuquerque.
New Mexico also features impressive and awe-inspiring geological wonders such as mountains and mountain ranges, big rocks, deserts, snow-capped mountains and mesas.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is a commuter rail system which opened in July 2006. It measures 97 miles in length and serves commuters from Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The extension of the line to Santa Fe, called Phase II began its operations in 2008. Presently it has 14 operating stations (while one is presently under construction as of this writing), and receives about 3,700 passengers daily.
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is built across the Rio Grande Gorge (of course), located in the town of Taos, New Mexico. The deck arch bridge, made entirely of steel, was built in 1965. It is one of the highest bridge in the United States (7th) and in the world (82nd) at 565 feet (172 meters) feet above the famous river.
The greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is a fast-running ground cuckoo that is of course the inspiration behind the famous Looney Tunes character. It was adopted as New Mexico’s state bird in 1949.
The San Miguel Chapel (San Miguel Mission) is a church in Santa Fe, Mexico that was once part of the Spanish colonial missions. Made mostly of adobe, the church was built during the early 17th century, making the San Miguel one of the oldest churches in the United States. Sunday masses are still held there.
The area now known as Santa Fe was founded in 1610 by the Spanish governor of New Mexico Don Pedro de Peralta. He named it as La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís, in honor of St. Francis de Assisi. De Peralta also made Santa Fe the capital of the province, and has remained so ever since, making it one of the oldest capitals in the US.
One of the famous natural wonders in New Mexico is the Shiprock is a monadnock (an isolated rock or a mountain that rises sharply from a gently sloping or virutally level surrounding plain) located in semi-autonomous territory of Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico. Its highest peak reaches 7,177 feet (2,187.5 meters) above sea level.
As the rock is governed by the Navajo Native Americans, the Shiprock has long been the important part of the Navajo culture. It is mentioned in many of their myths and legends. Its Navajo name Tsé Bitʼaʼí means “winged rock.”
Wheler Peak is the highest natural point in New Mexico, located in the Taos County and included in the Taos Mountain Range. It is 13,167 feet (4,013 meters) above sea level.
The White Sands National Monument, located near Alamogordo County, New Mexico, is a desert not consisting of sand, but of gypsum crystals. This makes the White Sands the biggest gypsum dune field in the world.
The flower of the yucca (Yucca) shrub was designated as the official state flower of New Mexico in 1927.
The city of Albquerque, New Mexico benefits greatly from the film industry as the city has been a favorite location for film production since the late 19th century. The Albuquerque Studios is the largest production facility in the United States at 28 acres. It has eight soundstages, production office space, mill space and a very wide back lot. One of the most notable films, the billion-dollar blockbuster action film The Avengers (2012), was mostly shot at Albuquerque Studios
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, every the month of October. The annual, nine-day event features over 500 balloons of different colors and shapes, making it the biggest hot-air balloon festival in the world.
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) was made as New Mexico’s official state animal in 1963.
The Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the famous “show caves” in the world, located in Eddy County in New Mexico. Established in 1930, it is open to the public except on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day. It’s famous for the spectacular natural limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites. It is also considered as a UNESCO Word Heritage Site.
The Chaco Culture National Historical Park is also one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site located in New Mexico (in San Juan and McKinley counties). It features awe-inspiring, magnificent preserved ruins, an important cultural and historical pre-Columbian tokens of the United States.
This family of life-size dinosaur (or Brontosauraus, to be more exact) statues is situated at an industrial park, south of Interstate-25 off Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico. These sculptures are actually the remnants of what once belonged to a larger display of creations by Larry Wilson, who made them during the 1980s. These “dinosaurs” are made of spray foam.