While doing research of other places to visit within driving distance of Scottsdale, Arizona, we came upon two spots that intrigued our interest-- Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well. The National Park Service maintains these special places for generations to enjoy. We also visited Sedona on this day and I will be sharing that beautiful place with you soon.
Montezuma Castle is located in the Verde Valley and was home to the Sinagua. Prior to them, hunters and gatherers lived in this valley for thousands of years. Agriculture and architecture emerged when the Hohokam and Northern Sinagua lived on this land.
Sinagua farmers built a five story twenty room dwelling around 1100-1300.
This cliff dwelling is one hundred feet above ground level. Early American settlers thought this was Aztec and therefore named it Montezuma Castle!
As we meandered along the walkway in the valley, two hawks were circling above.
The valley is home to Beaver Creek that provided essential water for crops and for the people.
This area is so peaceful and cool with lovely vegetation and a cooling breeze from Beaver Creek.
After leaving Montezuma Castle we went to Sedona (that I will share later) and then onto Montezuma Well.
Just eighty yards from the Ranger Station up a walkway on a very hot afternoon we are amazed at the sight that is before us!
This beautiful oasis in the desert is quite surprising! Native Americans lived and worked in this area and considered it sacred and still do.
It's difficult to tell, but this body of water contains over 15 million gallons of water! How can this be in an area that barely gets 13 inches of rain a year? More than 10,000 years ago the Well's water fell as rain and snow atop the Mogollom Rim. It has dripped through the rocks and through the years found its way to the cavern! Water still flows into the Well every day! New water finds its way (1.5 million gallons) each day!
As we walked around the edge we view ancient cliff dwellings. We learned that the Hohokam probably lived here. They learned to use the water from the well to irrigate corn, beans and squash. They made canals here thousands of years ago! This is just amazing to me!
By the 1100's the Sinagua began building small dwellings in the cliffs. They had more than 30 rooms along the rim.
In the 1400's most of the natives has moved to other places. The rooms stood empty. Descendants of the builders of these cliffs still return to this sacred place. The Hopi, the Zuni, and the Yavapai still pass down to their generations oral histories of this well and its importance to their heritage. The Apache also have great reverence for this area.
Montezuma Well has been a surprising place to visit. I learned so much about ancient people that I knew existed, but never really studied. What a glorious place!