"Hi-rise Luxury from the 1200s" Montezuma Castle National Monument by Jonathan_C
Montezuma Castle National Monument Travel Guide: 54 reviews and 160 photos
Montezuma Castle National Monument is the best preserved of all the Sinaguan Indian sites. The five-story, 20-room building clings to recesses in a cliff face along Beaver Creek. The pueblo appears to have been made by giant cliff swallows with a penchant for right angles. Construction was begun in the 12th century during the golden years of the Sinaguan cultural flowering. However, like the pueblos at Tuzigoot and Wupatki, it was eventually abondaned.
Little is known about the inhabitants of these lovely structures other than their departure in the early 1400s. Whatever the cause -- overpopulation, war, famine, plague -- it is believed that the survivors were ultimately incorporated into Hopi clans.
Just west of the cliff dwellings are the ruins of 'Castle A'. Evidence shows this structure may have been six stories high, containing perhaps 45 rooms -- a modest apartment building by today's standards. The juxtaposition of these two ruins makes the well preserved nature of Montezuma Castle all the more remarkable.
If you ever find yourself driving between Phoenix and Flagstaff you should certainly stop by Montezuma Castle for a brief break from the modern world. For those interested in sustainable development in the Arizona desert, this site should be combined with a visit to Arcosanti to compare and contrast ancient and modern attempts to harmonize architecture and ecology in this harsh landscape.
You won't find many books on Montezuma Castle or the Sinaguan indians in your local library. But you can stock up on... more travel advice
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