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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Montezuma's Castle

Earlier this spring my family traveled to the Verde Valley area of Arizona to ride the Verde Canyon Railroad and visit Montezuma's Castle. For some reason I forgot to blog about it until I received a few inquires from readers wanting to know when I would be doing another post featuring historical architecture. Better late than never! :)

Here is sweet boy with Cubby the cub scout mascot. Cubby is awarded to various cub scout for a week throughout the year. He is supposed to accompany the scout everywhere.


Montezuma's castle is an impressive 20 room, 5 story structure built 70 feet off of the ground. It is located in the recess of a white limestone cliff. The cliff dwelling was created by the Pre~ Columbian Sinagua Indians in the 12th to 14th centuries. The castle was named for the Aztec emperor by European Americans who mistakenly thought it was created by the Aztec people.




The Sinagua people built a series of ladders that allowed them access to the dwelling. Although you are able to walk amongst the ruins and foundations of other dwellings on the property, the castle itself has been closed to the public since 1951.




The Sinagua people left the area around 1425. The reason they abandoned the dwelling remains a mystery. Speculation lists possible illness, drought, or warfare with the Yavapai people. Modern Hopi clans can trace their lineage back to the Sinagua people and they occasionally return to the dwelling for religious ceremonies.




The trees on the property were just beautiful. The bark had a pattern unlike any I have ever seen before.



It truly was a perfect place to live (except for the snakes). Here is the lovely Beaver creek that runs right next to the castle.



A view of the castle area from the river bank.




All aboard! After visiting the castle it was a quick drive to the Verde Canyon Railroad. Cubby was going on this adventure as well. We were in the "Cottonwood" car.




A view of the front of the train engine as it was passing by.





During the four hour trip we saw elk, rabbits, deer, and eagles. It was nesting season and boy do eagles make HUGE nests! There was also pretty scenery to be found such as the traditional red rock of Arizona.



It took me a long time to learn how to appreciate desert beauty. But I fully enjoyed the surroundings on this trip.

Although this historical post was vastly different than my previous architectural posts I hope that you have enjoyed it. Please contact me if you would like to request a historical post on other styles.

28 comments :

Robin Thomas: A Nest With a View said...

I love Arizona so much. I hope to retire there someday. Not sure if that is a dream or it will happen but it is our favorite place to visit. Thanks for sharing that great site!

Tricia Samsal said...

I went there when I was a kid. Such a cool place. Looks like you all had fun!
Tricia
VintageBliss

Frippery said...

This was fascinating. Just think of that whole civilization living on the side of the sheer rock. I too was not a fan of desert landscape. My hubs flew me to meet him in Scottsdale when he was there on business for my 50th. We then went to Sedona for 4 days. What a magical place. I have a new found appreciation for this area.

Neabear said...

Hey! I have been to Montezuma's Castle. We visited there in 1990 on a car trip we had taken through 10 states. That was the year we visited Grand Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Painted Desert, Carlsbad Caverns and other sites. We also stopped at Montezuma's Well too. It was a great trip for us that year. Can't believe it has been 19 years since we did that trip.

Nancy said...

That is so awesome. What a neat trip. And I bet a memorable one for sweet boy and cubby! Thanks for sharing...those pictures are fantastic.

Nancy

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing this - it's very interesting and those are beautiful photographs. The tree trunks look just like some ones on campus here in Illinois - there are only three of them along an old portion of walkway.

I would love to visit a place such as this.

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

Wow, that is so cool!!

Liz said...

I loved Montezuma's Castle and the Train. It has been years! Thanks for the reminder. I agree with you on the landscape... Sometimes it makes me want a glass of water! :) But it is beautiful in its own way!

~Liz

ceekay said...

We love the Verde Canyon railroad and always take our guests there. It is so relaxing and absolutely beautiful.

TattingChic said...

That sounds like a cool place to visit.

Really Rainey said...

Beautiful photos Laura.. We have yet to go on the Verde Canyon Railroad... My next door neighbor is doing the Polar Express this year. They have had reservations for a year! Have you guys ever done the Christmas Polar Express?
Hope your week is going well...
~Really Rainey~

Kathy said...

Those are wonderful pictures.

Shabby Chic Junk said...

We live in Phoenix and took this trip two years ago. We really enjoyed the train ride and took lots of pictures too. Arizona is a beautiful state. We take alot of road trips here.
Thanks for sharing today because your post made me smile thinking about it.
Enjoy,
Debra

Shelia said...

This place looks amazing! I can feel the heat though! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

DarcyLee said...

What a fascinating trip! My dad and step-mother just moved to that area so I will have to tell them about it. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Joy said...

Fabulous photo story Laura! Very interesting. :o)

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Gorgeous! I went to the Grand Canyon this spring for the first time and was left breathless by the beauty.

And I love the camouflage patterned tree bark in your pic…wild!

Miss Sandy said...

Thanks for the fun and interesting tour. I love to visit historic places such as this, it is amazing. Too bad the castle part is closed. The train ride looks like it was fun also. I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

Thanks for sharing Laura. Sweet boy is truly sweet! Loved the photo of the train engine.
xxx deb

LiLi M. said...

Your photos are stunning! We have to save for another trip to the US, then we will be doing the West Coast and Arizona ( I hope). There is always so much more to see on a trip than you have time. Luckily I know a lot of lovely bloggers who do 'sight sharing'!
Thanks! Have a lovely day!

ps Your boy and the scout bear are sooo cute!

ScrappinAway said...

I was thinking that maybe the reason the indians left the castle was that they final got wise and realized it was tooooooo scary to climb up to it, lol! There is no way I would have climb a series of ladders to get to it. I did enjoy looking at the pictures though and wondered how they built it!

Tracy Pardue Watier said...

I've been there! Years ago, in a rented motorhome, trundling across the desert. We visited Sedona on the same trip and even managed to find Arcosanti, but the Indian dwellings were probably my favorite part. How amazing that they were able to live so well and flourish in that environmemt.

Allidink said...

Wow that was so cool! I have heard of that place and always wanted to visit. So neat! the train is neat too :)

All the best,
Allison

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I visited the castle, probably 25 years ago or so! I enjoyed this nostalgic trip via your post!

Sue said...

Having grown up out west in NM, I can really appreciate the desert landscape. This is a beautiful area and reminds me of similar locations I've been in both CO and NM. Thanks for showing us your trip. :-) Sue

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

This was so interesting! Amazing how it is built into the side of the mountain. The bark of that tree was amazing! laurie

Joyfulsister said...

Thank you for the aewsome tour, I would love to visit there oneday!!
Aloha Lorie

Stefany said...

Very cool pictures!