Montezuma Castle

2017 June 03
tags: Arizona · Photography · Travel
by Brent Jones

Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings near the town of Camp Verde, Arizona, United States. The dwellings were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.

Neither part of the monument's name is correct. When European-Americans first observed the ruins in the 1860s, by then long-abandoned, they named them for the famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in the mistaken belief that he had been connected to their construction (see also Montezuma mythology). In fact, the dwelling was abandoned more than 40 years before Montezuma was born, and was not a "castle" in the traditional sense, but instead functioned more like a "prehistoric high rise apartment complex".

This was a wonderful stop in Arizona. As people know and you can guess I love history. So this was exactly in my wheelhouse.

Predating the United States, by around 400 years or more, this feat of building is fantastic. At over 4000 square feet and 5 stories this was built to last, obviously.

Sadly, but smartly, you are no longer able to tour the castle itself, it would have been interesting going through and seeing how tribes like the Hopi lived hundreds of years ago.

The one question on my mind though after visiting is why would they abandon such a place.

Hope everyone likes the pictures.


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