They say the US doesn’t have real castles like Europe. They might be right when it comes to enormous Renaissance or Baroque palaces. Arizona, however, has its own “royal residence” and invites you to visit Montezuma Castle.
How to Visit to Montezuma Castle
During our short visit to Sedona, Arizona, we decided to stay in nearby area to avoid spending a fortune on hotel room in the city. Camp Verde – a small town about 30 miles away – allured us with its cheaper accommodations. Next morning before heading to Sedona, we went to see what the place had to offer. The first thing on our itinerary was a visit to Montezuma Castle. We didn’t spend a lot of time here, but it was enough to acknowledge historical value of the structure.
A visit to Montezuma Castle can’t be compared to any other royal residences you’ve even seen before. The place looks like a small park with cliff dwellings and Beaver Creek nearby. Centuries ago, Montezuma Castle was a home to a large group of Sinagua Indians. The Sinagua found the area around Beaver Creek suitable for growing corn, squash, and beans. It was a perfect place for these hunter-gatherers and farmers. Moreover, the Sinagua liked the protected location of the huge cliff that shielded them from rain and sun and soon became their dwelling.
No one knows exactly what happened later. Some suggest that drought, disease, and exhaustion of farmlands forced the Sinagua to look for another home. But by 1425 A.D., the tribe left Montezuma Castle – a unique castle in the south of the US.
Visit Montezuma Castle – an Unusual Castle near Camp Verde in Arizona
Your visit to Montezuma Castle includes a whole lot of historical facts. So, for example, the castle is a five-story, 20-room ancient dwelling. It’s set about 90 feet up a limestone cliff near Camp Verde in Arizona. The walls of Montezuma Castle were made from limestone and mud mortar, about two feet thick at the bottom and narrowed to only one foot thick at the top. The ceilings were at approximately five feet.
Each group that lived in Montezuma Castle occupied one separate room, which was about 140 square feet. Peep holes and doorways let light get in in the morning and early afternoon. The rooms of Montezuma Castle were dark in the late afternoon and evening.
The Sinagua used the caste also as a place to hold their community meeting. Furthermore, Montezuma Castle served as a storeroom for crops and seeds. Additionally, over 6000 Natives traveled through long corridors of the castle to the southwest.
Name Origin of the Castle
During our visit to Montezuma Castle we learned that the place had received its name by mistake. Early white settlers believed that the unique structure was built in early 15th century. Thus, they named it after Montezuma, the ruler of the Aztec empire from 1502 to 1520. Thorough investigation of the site started only in the late 1800s and revealed the signs of the Sinagua. In 1906 Theodor Roosevelt declared Montezuma Castle a national monument. Even though the castle has undergone a few reconstructions, over 90 percent of it is original.