November 18, 2011

11/12/11 – Montezuma Castle NM

Montezuma Castle National Monument is a cliff dwelling, not a castle.  It was built by Sinagua farmers, not Aztec warriors.  Apparently the early settlers didn’t credit the local Indians with the ability to construct a multi-storied building, so they attributed it to Montezuma.  Education can only go so far.
This is another 12th century ruin that was almost destroyed by 20th century tourists.  In order to protect it, President Teddy Roosevelt designated it in 1906 as one of the first four national monuments.  But even after that, tourists were still allowed to climb up inside the building.  Finally in 1951, it was closed to the public because people were still collecting souvenirs.
Now we can only see it from below.  It’s in a cliff alcove about 100’ off the ground.   It’s been “restored” enough that the walls look like they might have in the 1100s when it built. 
There’s another dwelling near the base of the cliff—it’s pretty deteriorated now, but it originally had 6 stories and 45 rooms.  They gave it the extremely romantic name of “Castle A”.
It’s fall.  Beaver Creek glistens in the sunlight, and the sycamores are golden against the bright blue sky.

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