Sunday, January 1, 2012

Montezuma Castle

Road trip!
The whole family, dog included, piled into the car to spend New Year's Day exploring Montezuma Castle National Park (about 45 minutes south of Flagstaff).  This was one of the first four national monuments that President Theodore Roosevelt created, declaring it of historic and cultural significance. 

We weren't sure what to expect at the first stop, Montezuma Well. I was worried it wouldn't be more than a small hole in the ground, but we were pleasantly surprised. These dwellings were built 800 years ago by the Sinagua people. 
'Sin agua' means 'without water' and was given to this Native American tribe by Spanish settlers when Arizona was claimed by Spain. Archaeologists have determined that their ancestors were Hopi but have no clue as to their real name and so they just kept 'Sinagua'.

Montezuma Well has been replenished with a million and a half gallons of spring water daily, since prehistoric times. Maybe Conagua is a more accurate name?

Beautiful waterfront property, free of charge. 

Their houses were constructed of mud plaster and rock. We couldn't help but notice how small the doorways were, they were either really short or really uncomfortable. 

Just a few exits south of the well is Montezuma Castle. This was the highlight of the trip, one of the best preserved prehistoric structures in North America. 
The 45-50 room pueblo ruin has been a tourist destination since the 1930's. Until 1951, tourists were allowed to use ladders to climb up into the rooms. It sounds dangerous for the general public but I so want to go in!

Behind us was the location of another pueblo that was destroyed by a fire about 600 years ago. 

My uncle had no qualms about using their 1,000 year old tools. 

This is what it may have looked like during the 400 year period that they lived there, before they mysteriously disappeared.

We always have an amazing time with the Brauns, they are always up for an adventure. 
Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a gorgeous day in the AZ desert. Very interesting. I love learning about Native people. It is such a unique part of the world. Thanks for the history lesson through gorgeous photos.


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