First Mesa artists are known for their pottery and Kachina Dolls. There are three villages on First Mesa: Walpi, Tewa, and Sichomovi. Driving to the top of First Mesa is like climbing to the top of the world as the vistas take in a great expanse of the surrounding desert. Walpi is a unique village that is accessible to visitors on a Walking Tour that begins at Ponsi hall. There is no electricity or running water in the village of Walpi. Hano was settled by the Tewa people who were the last group to become Hopi over 600 years ago.
Second Mesa artists are known for intricately coiled baskets and Katsina dolls. There are three villages on Second Mesa: Shungopavi (where most religious and ceremonial activities are centered), Sipaulovi (the last village to be established after the Pueblo Revolt) and Mishongnovi. Visitor services on Second Mesa include picnic areas, a campground, a restaurant, the Hopi Arts and Crafts Silvercraft Cooperative Guild, the Hopi Cultural Center, and a hotel. Second Mesa has road-side venders where locally made crafts are sold, as well as a number of galleries.
Third Mesa artists are known for wicker and twill basketry as well as Kachina Dolls. There are four villages on Third Mesa: Hotevilla, Bacavi, Oraibi, and Kykotsmovi which is where Hopi tribal offices are located. Oraibi is the oldest of the Third Mesa villages, one of the original Hopi villages dating back over a thousand years of continuous occupancy. Moenkopi is also known as a Third Mesa Village but is situated approximately 50 miles west of the other Third Mesa villages at the Western Gateway to Hopi.
Moenkopi artists are known for beautiful basketry and carving. Moenkopi is situated at the Western gateway to Hopi and has two villages: Upper Moenkopi and Lower Moenkopi. These villages are part of Third Mesa even though they are over 50 miles distant from the other Third Mesa villages. Moenkopi began as a farming area for the village of Oraibi and the early inhabitants are legendary for their ability to run from Oraibi to Moenkopi.
The Hopi occupy an area of approximately 2,439 square miles in northeastern Arizona at an elevation of 5,800-6,000 feet. The Hopi people live in 12 villages located in four regions referred to as First Mesa, Second Mesa, Third Mesa, and Moenkopi (part of Third Mesa). While language custom and tradition are similar, each region has features that are unique from other regions. Traveling across Hopi is easy – simply follow Arizona State highway 264 which connects the Upper Village of Moenkopi at the Western Gateway to Hopi with the other villages. You will travel through some of the most open and pristine land in the American west.
Tourists are welcome to visit the Hopi villages independently but the very best way to tour Hopi is with a tour guide who is certified by the Hopi Tribe. These guides are exceptionally knowledgeable about the traditions and culture of the Hopi. They know the Kachina Doll carvers, basket makers, silversmiths and other artists and can introduce visitors to the artists and explain the significance of the art.
The Hopi villages are living villages – the original homes are still intact and have been continuously occupied for centuries. When visitors enter the villages they are entering into the current lifestyle of the people in the villages.
You will meet Hopi artists when you tour the villages. Authorized Hopi Guides know basket makers, silversmiths, carvers, painters, potters, and weavers who will invite you into their home workshops.
You will also meet artists on the Walking Tours in Walpi and Sipaulovi, where artists sell their art in the streets of the villages. You can be assured that the art you find on your visit to the Hopi mesas will be authentic and will be some of the most beautiful Native American art you have ever seen!