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Come enjoy the "Heart of New Mexico." Nearly smack in the geographic middle is Albuquerque, our largest city and only metropolitan area. Here you can find the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Sandia Peak Ski Area and World's Longest Tramway, the ABQ Bio Park, numerous museums, art galleries, performance halls, vineyards, and historic Route 66. While the city and the surrounding area has a contemporary, bustling feel, the legends of the past are present and preserved.
Now a thriving city, Albuquerque was once unchartered territory sought after by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado who was in search of what proved to be a highly elusive legend - the Golden Cities of Cíbola. What he found were vast, beautiful landscapes and a rich Pueblo heritage. The Santa Ana, Sandía, Zia, and Isleta pueblos remain and do well, most of them operating successful business ventures, mainly in the form of Las Vegas-style casinos that feature nationally known musical acts.
To the east are the rocky precipices of the Sandía Mountain range, nearly visible from everywhere in the region. Named Sandía (meaning 'watermelon') by Spanish explorers, the mountainsides take on that pink color at sunset. Also of note is The Petroglyph National Monument on the West Mesa, which contains up to 15,000 ancient rock carvings created centuries ago by Native American artisans. To the south along the Río Grande, on the old path of El Camino Real and the Chihuahua Trail are the peaceful farming communities of Los Lunas and Belén. Migrating birds gather along these old paths as well, lending even more texture and character to our pure blue skies.
To the east and north of Albuquerque is the Turquoise Trail, a historic route through several legendary mining towns. In the adjacent hills are many abandoned turquoise mines first worked in by ancient Native Americans.If you enter our state by way of Albuquerque, you could easily be busy for your whole vacation in the Central region.