One of the coolest things about living in Arizona is the rich history of its original inhabitants. Peppered throughout the state are the ruins of ancient native American structures. One of these structures, and probably the most impressive that I have seen thus far, is Montezuma's Castle. The National Park service describes it as "high-rise apartments" but It looks like it could make a formidable castle as well.
This cliff-dwelling was built by the Sinagua people around 700 AD. How they built it I have no idea, as the structure is carved in limestone on the side of a sheer cliff face. The pictures don't really do it justice, but it's carved so high up that I imagine the builders had to use ladders and scaffolding, or maybe they even hung suspended from ropes from the top like the carvers of Mount Rushmore. Whatever the case may be, Montezuma's Castle is an impressive feat of ancient engineering.
|Wide shot of Montezuma's Castle|
I don't know why the Sinagua built their home so far off the ground, but it stands to reason they did it for defense. Why else? Any attacking force would have a hell of a time scaling vertical rock while being bombarded with rocks and arrows and spears.
|"Center" of Tuzigoot|
Tuzigoot is somewhat pyramidal in shape, and the center is its highest point. It has almost like a parapet on top where lookouts must have stood. Tuzigoot seems to dominate the Verde River flood plane, and its easy to see why the Sinagua chose this locations. From this point you can see for miles in every direction.
|View from one of the rooms.|
|View from the top.|