Zia Pueblo is the birthplace of the familiar ancient sun symbol, which sports multiple stylized rays radiating in each of the traditional four directions from a central sun. In the 1920s the emblem was placed on New Mexico's state flag, and it remains there today. Once one of the largest of the Río Grande pueblos with eight plazas and 6,000 people, the pueblo has decreased in size to a population of about 646 today (Census 2000).
This Keres-speaking pueblo is situated near the Jémez River atop a small mesa that provides a spectacular view of the surrounding areas. Behind the pueblo lie the Nacimiento Mountains and the Pajarito and Jémez plateaus. They are accessible via Indian Routes 78 and 79 and you'll need permission from the tribal administration office to explore them.
Potters from Zia Pueblo are known for the geometric designs used on pottery and plant and animal motifs used on white backgrounds. The pueblo women are skilled at making thin-walled pottery usually decorated with Zia bird symbols. Pueblo Zia Cultural Center, which also sells paintings, sculpture, weavings and more. Pueblo artwork is available at the Zia Cultural Center, which also sells paintings, sculpture, weavings and more.
The annual feast day, honoring Our Lady of the Assumption, is Aug. 15. No cameras, sketching or recording are allowed. The pueblo also offers bass, catfish and trout fishing at the nearby Zia Lake. Fishing permits are available. Zia Pueblo, located 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Bernalillo and eight miles northwest of Santa Ana Pueblo on U.S. 550, is open during daylight hours only.