Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle National Monument

From Wikipedia:  “Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings near the town of Camp Verde, Arizona, United States.  The dwellings were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD.  The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.

Montezuma Castle Montezumas Castle 1887 photo

Neither part of the monument's name is correct.  When European-Americans first observed the ruins in the 1860s, by then long-abandoned, they named them for the famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in the mistaken belief that he had been connected to their construction.  In fact, the dwelling was abandoned more than 40 years before Montezuma was born, and was not a 'castle' in the traditional sense, but instead functioned more like a 'prehistoric high rise apartment complex'.

More information is available in articles at  Wikipedia and at  NPS.

Photos include a Historic view of Montezuma Castle, 1887, a full view of the Monument, and an enlarged view of the center of the Monument.

Select a tile to view its photo.