19 April 2010
South of Flagstaff, Az just off highway 17 is a castle from the Middle Ages.
Let me clarify...
In the 1860s, European Americans made their way west...err...southwest. They discovered relics of a civilization they believed to be Aztec.
They were wrong.
This civilization belonged to the Sinagua people. It was a beautiful area complete with flowing river. The Sinagua were a prehistoric farming culture that once flourished in the Verde Valley.
Southern Sinagua farmers began building structures in the Verde Valley around 1100 CE, the Middle Ages in Europe.
The walls of the cliffs above the Beaver Creek are fresh water limestone and easily carved.
The first major structure to go up was a six story dwelling that was built against the cliff wall and today is called Castle A.
Unfortunately not much of it remains.....
However; continue along the well paved path and you will come to what the first Europeans in this area erroneously called, Montezuma's Castle.
Montezuma's Castle, named such because the first European's believed it to have been built by the Aztec's of Mexico, is built into a recess 100 feet above the valley floor.
It is five stories tall and has 20 rooms. It was home to about 50 people.
The last known inhabitants left about 1425.
This structure is amazing. Tourists have not been allowed inside since the 1950s and I understand the reasons. This is something that MUST be preserved at any cost, even if it means modern man can only see it from below.
If you are in Flagstaff you have to take the drive down the 17. It is only about an hour and is something you will always remember.