Montezuma Castle, Arizona

National Monument USA in Arizona

Every year more than 600,000 tourists visit this ancient castle

The National Monument "Castle of Montezuma" is a historical monument in the United States in the heart of Arizona, on the border of the Colorado Plateau and the physical-geographical province of the Dale and Range. The castle is located in the valley of the River Verde. It is located at a height of 27 m, in a grotto that was formed in a vertical limestone wall that overlooks Beaver Creek.

The Montezuma Castle itself does not look like a castle in the usual sense of the word. Rather, it is a fairly sheltered dwelling, built in inaccessible terrain, which, by the time of its creation, meant almost complete safety of those living in it. Beaver Creek flows into the River Verde north of Kamp Verde, the center of the Arizona District of Yavapai, named after an Indian tribe that has preserved the cult of spirits in the nearby mountains, in the caves of Montezuma Castle and in the Well of Montezuma. And today, javapai come to the Castle of Montezuma to perform the ceremony of "summoning the spirits." Yavapai perceive the buildings of Montezuma Castle as a temple rather than housing, since they themselves lived from ancient times in wambuki-nyah-va huts made of brushwood covered with animal skins, grass, bark or clay.

In the pre-Hispanic times, it was the land that belonged to the people, who in our time were given the name of Sinagua. They appeared here at the end of the 5th century, but permanent dwellings, like the Castle of Montezuma, began to be built from the 11th century. They were built by both the Sinagua and the Anasazi people living next to them, culturally associated with the first and probably the ancestors of the modern Indian Pueblo. But if in Mesa Verde (Colorado), where the same Anasazi lived, there are many such buildings, then there is only Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well in the entire Arizona Valley Verde.

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Montezuma Castle, Arizona

The tour includes a visit to the Sinagua Museum, which presents the tools that were used to build such housing in the days of Sinagua

Many tourists come to see this miraculously preserved piece of America's ancient past. In 1890, the house in the rock was first named the Castle of Montezuma in the notes of the military doctor Edgar Mirnza. He used the designation invented by the romantic-minded local enthusiasts who fought for the preservation of the unique historical monument. In 1906, US President Theodore Roosevelt noted the adoption of the Antiquities Act by announcing the list of the first four national monuments.

Among them was the "Castle of Montezuma". The President referred to him as the place of "the greatest ethnological value and scientific value." Despite the fact that by that time no artifacts worthy of attention of science were found in the Castle, since everything was already plundered, the "Castle" was taken under the protection of the law.

The castle of Montezuma is a 5-storey building in a limestone grotto, with high walls built on a rocky ledge made of unfired bricks, pieces of limestone and clay. The walls look like a natural continuation of the slopes of the cliff. The ceiling was supported by beams from the trunks of the Arizona sycamore. Behind the walls there are multi-level residential premises, there are about 20 of them, and they can only be accessed by ladders.

30-50 people could live in them at the same time. The National Monument includes the Well of Montezuma, which is away from the Castle. This is a large limestone rock with a large karst funnel inside, and there is a lake in it, which is filled with water by two large underground sources. Excess water out of the natural 46-meter tunnel in the body of the rock. It is impossible to drink water from the "well" because of the high (80 times higher than natural) concentrations of carbon dioxide and arsenic.

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