One of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival in an unforgiving desert landscape.
You’re right in wondering what the Aztec Emporer Montezuma was doing up in Arizona. A vacation home perhaps?
In fact, Montezuma II had nothing to do with this impressive cliff dwelling. It was actually built and occupied over 700 years before he was alive by the Sinagua people. It was in the 1860s when European Americans discovered the ruins that they named it “Montezuma Castle“, assuming that he was connected with it.
In 1951, the National Park Service closed the ruins to the public to prevent further damage. As a result, now all you can do is walk below the structure and gaze up at it. Our visit to Walnut Canyon Nat’l Monument spoiled us a bit and I wanted to climb inside these abandoned homes too.