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About This GigaPanToggle
- Taken by
- Bill Bailey
- Explore score
- 0.62 Gigapixels
- Date added
- December 29, 2009
- Date taken
- December 27, 2009
Located in the Southwestern United States Verde Valley 1.5 hours north of Phoenix Arizona is one of the best preserved Indian cliff dwellings in North America.
Montezuma Castle was one of the first four National Monuments dedicated in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
The castle was built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people circa 700 AD. The Hopi Indians, and some Navajos can trace their roots to immigrants from the Verdi Valley and Beaver Creek area. Some tribe members return on occasion to these older sites for religious ceremonies. Early European Americans (1850's) named these area after the Aztec emperor of Mexico "Montezuma", thinking the emperor had been involved in the construction of the site.
This 20 room 5 level high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival by the Sinagua Indian in an unforgiving desert landscape.
It is believed the Sinagua women actually built the entire structure and did all the farming as well.
Getting to the first level of the Castle is done using small holes in the floor of level two. These two dark, windowless rooms have low ceilings, requiring anyone but a child to squat low to move through them. They may have been used to store food, water and equipment for the residents who lived in the Castle.
The interior of the Castle is very dark. Most of the walls are covered in thick layers of soot deposited from hundreds of years of cooking and warming fires lit in each room. This soot covers layers of hand-coated adobe plaster used to seal and protect the structure. Fingerprints of the Castle's original inhabitants are still visible on walls containing original Sinagua plaster. These walls would have been continuously maintained by the Sinagua, with fresh applications of plaster covering older applications.
For more information on this historic treasure visit: www.nps.gov/moca