Sunday, November 1, 2015
Montezuma Castle is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in America. In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt designated it and three other places as the very first Historic Monuments in the Untied States.
When it was discovered in the 1860's by vagabond miners, they misnamed the place after the Aztec emperor Montezuma and although it had nothing to do with Aztec peoples, the name remains. In fact, the people who live here were of the Sinagua Culture.
The castle is actually a 20-Room high-rise apartment building built into the towering limestone cliff. Much of the artifacts left by the people were scavenged long before historians arrived on the scene. There was enough remaining for archaeologists to learn about the people who lived here some 800 years ago. It is thought that this place along Beaver Creek was inhabited by the Sinagua people for between 300 and 400 years before they left the place.
Following the path along the creek and looking up at the castle is a spectacular sight. It opens the imagination to wonder about how these people lived in such a remote area of northern Arizona, building such a magnificent dwelling and hunting, fishing and farming in the valley below them. An even greater wonder is how this wonderful dwelling has survived some 800 years.
If you are driving between Flagstaff and the Phoenix area, it is well worth a stop here to gaze upon this magnificent piece of history.