The Plaza has been the heart and soul of Santa Fe, as well as its literal center, since its concurrent establishment with the city in 1610. Originally designed as a meeting place, it has been the site of innumerable festivals and other historical, cultural, and social events. Long ago the plaza was a dusty hive of activity as the staging ground and terminus of the Santa Fe Trail. Today, those who congregate around the central monument enjoy the best people-watching in New Mexico. In 2004, they also enjoyed watching an excavation that revealed Native American treasures, with plans for continued work there. The dig came about as a result of construction on a new gazebo/bandstand. Santa Feans understandably feel nostalgic for the days when the plaza, now the hub of the tourist trade, still belonged to locals rather than outside commercial interests. For other places to visit in the historic Plaza area, please see our Self Guided Walking Tour.