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Historic Old Town has been the heart of Albuquerque since the city was founded here in 1706. Today, historic Old Town Albuquerque is the city's cultural center, with five museums and more than 100 shops, galleries and restaurants. View pictures of Old Town Albuquerque in the gallery above. first neighborhood in 1706, when a group of Spanish families settled here, not far from the Rio Grande. The settlers organized their new town in the traditional Spanish colonial way, with a central plaza anchored by a church. When the original adobe church collapsed after the long, rainy summer of 1792, they rebuilt, and in 1793 San Felipe de Neri church was completed. Today, this adobe church with walls five feet thick is the oldest in Albuquerque and its white towers mark Old Town from a distance. It remains a functioning Catholic church, and as you wander around the neighborhood you may see couples posing for wedding pictures in the Plaza's gazebo. More than 300 years after it was founded, Old Town remains a center for culture, architecture, shopping, art and cuisine.
Old Town today looks much like it did when it was built centuries ago. Its Pueblo-Spanish style architecture with flat-roofed buildings and soft contours of adobe mirror the Southwestern landscape. Long portals (porches) line the fronts of most buildings offering shade from the New Mexican sun. Bancos (benches) are often found built into the back walls of the portals, providing the perfect place for weary walkers to sit and watch the world go by.
For almost three centuries Old Town has been the crossroads of the Southwest. It is the Historical Zone of the City of Albuquerque and home for many families whose ancestors founded the town.