A cradle of Colorado history lying at the intersection of the Hispano Southwest and the Anglo Rocky Mountain West, the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is unique. Today the San Luis Valley exists as a recognizable subcategory of western culture. Main streets lined with murals, historic adobe churches and delicious tamales all represent the unique Hispano stamp of the Valley. The art, language, architecture, folklore and traditions remain evocative of the region’s early Spanish colonists and Mexican settlers but have mixed those of Morman, German, Dutch, Japanese and most recently Amish.
The greater endurance of traditional values and practices in the Sangre de Cristo region may be attributed to the geographic isolation of the valley. The resiliency of the area residents and their willingness to adapt, but not fully assimilate, to modern ways also lends the area a special character. Residents of the area and their ancestors have clung steadfastly to their traditional culture and continue to resist the influences of newcomers. Time-honored traditions and lifestyles that have been passed on through the generations remain integral to modern day living.