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Montezuma's Castle, Arizona

Staring up at Montezuma's Castle
Staring up at Montezuma's Castle

The Grand Canyon may be a geographical marvel that brings the state of Arizona immediate recognition, but just a few hundred miles south of that natural wonder is the lesser-known yet equally impressive Montezuma’s Castle.

This man-made cliffside dwelling is more humble in size than the name would lead you to believe. But its existence is testament to the ingenuity and architectural boldness of the Sinagua Indians.

The Sinagua lived in the Verde Valley region of Arizona from 1100 to 1400 A.D. Farming and some hunting on nearby Beaver Creek were their way of life.

This particular castle has withstood the tests of time, but there’s evidence the Sinagua tribe called several other stone-and-mortar dwellings home in the area. The multiple stories of these dwellings were accessible only by ladders.

Located about an hour south of Flagstaff and less than two hours north of Phoenix, this national monument is a great stop for those traveling on the Interstate 17. For $5 per adult, visitors get to walk the 1/3-mile trail, view a small exhibit on the Sinagua people and witness this spectacular structure.

Although it only takes a few minutes to walk the short trail, I found myself staring into the cliffside for a long time – I was taken aback by how remarkable this ancient apartment was.

To this day, anthropologists still can’t account for what happened to the Sinagua people. They disappeared before European settlers even reached the Americas. However, they did leave a lasting historical impression with their architecture and these extraordinary remains.

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Staring up at Montezuma's Castle
Staring up at Montezuma's Castle

The Grand Canyon may be a geographical marvel that brings the state of Arizona immediate recognition, but just a few hundred miles south of that natural wonder is the lesser-known yet equally impressive Montezuma’s Castle.

This man-made cliffside dwelling is more humble in size than the name would lead you to believe. But its existence is testament to the ingenuity and architectural boldness of the Sinagua Indians.

The Sinagua lived in the Verde Valley region of Arizona from 1100 to 1400 A.D. Farming and some hunting on nearby Beaver Creek were their way of life.

This particular castle has withstood the tests of time, but there’s evidence the Sinagua tribe called several other stone-and-mortar dwellings home in the area. The multiple stories of these dwellings were accessible only by ladders.

Located about an hour south of Flagstaff and less than two hours north of Phoenix, this national monument is a great stop for those traveling on the Interstate 17. For $5 per adult, visitors get to walk the 1/3-mile trail, view a small exhibit on the Sinagua people and witness this spectacular structure.

Although it only takes a few minutes to walk the short trail, I found myself staring into the cliffside for a long time – I was taken aback by how remarkable this ancient apartment was.

To this day, anthropologists still can’t account for what happened to the Sinagua people. They disappeared before European settlers even reached the Americas. However, they did leave a lasting historical impression with their architecture and these extraordinary remains.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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