Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Montezuma's Castle

Due to the fact that I had kids going to ASU I spent a good deal of time driving back and forth from Orem, Ut. to Phoenix, Az. I am a driver instead of a flier. I love to drive and get a good look at the country as I head to my destination, even in the desert of northern Arizona.

One of the sites along the freeway that peaked my interest was Montezuma's Castle. It is situated just off I-17 about 50 miles south of Flagstaff, Az., which made it about 90 miles north of Phoenix, Az.
When I stopped to see it I found it a very interesting site and it got my curiosity going and so I looked a little deeper. I noticed right off that it wasn't a castle and I also found that Montezuma, the Aztec leader, did not have anything to do with it. It actually predates Montezuma and the Aztecs by several hundred years. The early explorers who discovered the dwellings first thought they were Aztec ruins and so they named the site after Montezuma.

However they were not Aztec ruins they were from a people who lived in that area of central Arizona and were known as the Sinauga. They occupied significant portions of that country from 500 AD to 1425 AD.
Into a recess in the limestone cliff the Sinauga built a 5 story 20 room apartment that is 70 feet in the air.
There are also remnants of foundations where they had built more buildings and rooms
It is not possible to go up into the remaining structure but there are very nice pathways that allow walking around the site where it is possible to view the remnants of what was at one time a very active community.
I also found Montezuma's Castle is one of a number of well preserved ancient dwellings in that north central Arizona area. Some others are Wupatki National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument.
That means there is a lot of new exploring to do.............................................!