Monday, 10 March 2014

Montezuma Castle - Arizona

I left Australia at 11am and 20 or so hours later I had checked in to my hotel at 1pm on the same day.

Strange.

Sleep proved far more difficult that I had hoped for.

The alarm sounded at what it claimed was 6am on the next day.  I did not really believe it.

Coffee called.

Still battling the effect of a day that lasted almost twice as long as normal, and gripped by jet lag I waited for a small tour bus outside of my hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The first part of the journey is all a bit hazy really: cactus, sand, the sing song accent of the guide who repeated the himself at the end of most sentences.  "There are 41 types of cactus in Arizona.  41!"

We pull off route 17 for our first stop.  I may be early morning.  It could be midnight - I'm just not sure.

We pull into the car park of a National Monument called Montezuma Castle - which is not really associated with the Aztec king Montezuma nor a castle.

The builders of this cliff dwelling were Sinagua farmers, who worked the fertile river terraces below the cliff and traded the salt that they gathered locally.  Apparently, the building once contained 45 rooms and rose to five stories high.





Looking at this building it was remarkable to consider that this civilisation basically disappeared from this area in the 1400's.  We don't really know why.  But it's clear that this was a sophisticated culture, so the reason for leaving must have been pretty significant.

The other thing I found interesting about this site was it name - while the people who built the building have long since left, we do know that its in nothing to do with Montezuma and it was not a castle.  In Australia, many important landmarks are now routinely called by the names given to them by the local Aboriginal people.  This seems an appropriate thing to do - and in some small way gives credit and recognition to the people who came before us.  I can't help but think it would be appropriate here too.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

33 comments:

Irma said...

Hi Stewart,
Great to see that there is a house in the rocks is made​​.
A very good new week,
Greetings Irma

eileeninmd said...

The cliff dwellings are cool. Definitely a neat sight to see. Great shots, thanks for sharing..

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Really beautiful the way the building merges into the awesome rock structures.The colours are amazing.

Thanks for sharing,
Ruby

Optimistic Existentialist said...

It's really mysterious wondering what happened to them and where they went isn't it?? Would make an awesome movie someday.

Carole M. said...

super shots Stewart, considering you were in a bit of time-warp then. Would have been a very interesting location, love those dwellings set in the rock walls

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Sounds like you found the trip to the US a little confusing at first.
Funny how I'm learning things about the US from someone from Australia. Thanks for sharing. The cliff dwellings are amazing.

trav4adventures said...

Ah...yes...isn't it an interesting place? Beautiful photos! I always enjoy the sycamore trees there.
~Cheryl Ann~

TexWisGirl said...

such a neat ancient structure. (ancient by US terms).

the tour guide repeated himself to get through all of the jet-lag foggers. :)

thewovenspoke said...

Beautiful photos considering your jet lag! I live about 4 miles from there and it is afavorite place to go. Isn't it amazing the names the people that immigrated to this country named places like this.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

The geologic history of the Southwest is really interesting. You read/hear so much about climate change, as though it's a new phenomenon, but the SW used to be much less arid, covered in grass prairies. The land simply dried up on the natives, and they had to move away. (nice pictures)

Skye said...

that is pretty amazing. I love seeing history from all over the world - very beautiful. I have never been out west but know it's totally different than where I am (NJ) with the landscape and history. So pretty! And I loved the rocks in the previous post. That is something that could be framed for a big beautiful bathroom or spa area :)

Montanagirl said...

Good morning, Stewart. Some great shots of this wonderful structure. Thank you for sharing with us.

Karen said...

That's so neat. Did you get up there in the "castle" to look around?

Andrea said...

Well, truth and credit don't seem to be a priority over here. They probably named it Montezuma because it was commercially more recognizable and would sell more tours ... pretty jaded, I'm thinking. But most people don't put the deep thinking into it like you so it just stays that way. I am guessing we have more serious issues to deal with that we aren't dealing with so any protesting for change will probably focus on those. Hope you enjoyed the amazing beauty of the site. It is hard to imagine being able to construct homes in the side of a cliff ... something I know I wouldn't try. Fun post, Stewart and you are one up on me, because I have never seen this site. I have see the cleff dwellers in Colorado though :)

Andrea @ From The Sol

Sylvia K said...

Unfortunately, I do agree with Andrea regarding truth and credit not always being a priority over here!! It is a beautiful and amazing place however and I'm glad you got to see it!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a great week!!

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Your final few sentences makes a good point. Been many a year since I was at "the castle". I tend to shy away from the touristy spots now and leave them for the ah...well tourists, much the same as if I went to Australia and hit all the tourist spots. Probably wouldn't see you there. Am looking forward to more of our sites from your point of view Stewart.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

There is beautiful scenery in Arizona and I love your pictures (taken in a such jet-lagged state...I probably wouldn't even have recognized my camera).

And yes the naming thing would be appropriate. But appropriate and Arizona don't too often go together. (Except for the beautiful scenery).

carol l mckenna said...

Beautiful photography of Arizona ~ I love the pueblos ~ they are fascinating to me and ahead of their time in some ways ~ thanks ~ great post for OWT ~ xxx

artmusedog and carol

Marcia said...

I was in that spot last April. Was this part of your business trip? or just a side junket?

Those cliff swellings throughout the southwest are so fascinating. Did you get to see any others?

Brian King said...

That's very cool! This is the first time I've seen photos of it. The cliffs are beautiful!

Janice Adcock said...

I would that the states would accept more of Australia's approach in so many things. Not the least of which recognizing the peoples that occupied these lands before us invaders.

Jen said...

Anasazi ruins? They are beautiful. Unfortunately, we don't know what the ancient ones called this place. I'm pretty sure it wasn't "castle".

Chris Rohrer said...

I can't believe you're in Arizona!!! That is also a very cool area to visit:) Hope you're having fun!

ladyfi said...

Gorgeous shots! Hope you've got over the jet lag.

TheChieftess said...

We've visited Mesa Verde a few years back...very similar to this. I know how you felt seeing this...it's really incredible. At Mesa Verde, the dwellings were a bit closer to the ground and walkways had been constructed so that we would walk in the dwelling area...it was very well preserved with good security as well!!! The Ancient Puebloans also disappeared...I don't remember the time frame, but I think it was around the same time...amazing history isn't it?!!!

LindyLou Mac said...

What a great place to be sent to on a work trip, thanks for sharing.

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

You are right about the name…makes you wonder .
Wonderful photos of a unique place.

Shey Wicklund said...

This structure is amazing and presents a lot of mystery. Very interesting post that will leave you wondering.

Pat Tillett said...

I told you we'd be in that area soon, that is exactly the area we'll be in. Beautiful photos Stewart! I think it got it's name from VERY early settlers, who thought they were Aztec ruins. I had no idea you'd be venturing out so far from Scottsdale. Did your tour stop in Sedona at all?

amanda | wildly simple said...

I think you're very right, Stewart - it would be appropriate here, too, to give a more authentic name.
Very cool place- the SW is a fascinating landscape!

Arti said...

Breathtaking scenery. And I like the fact that old names are retained to give due recognition to the people who named it in ancient times. Love your pictures, thank you so much for sharing Stewart.

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Linda W. said...

Beautiful scenery that you've captured well. Someplace I hope to visit soon!

DeniseinVA said...

Stewart, I was very happy to see your post. I know Montezuma's Castle from my first trip when my husband changed duty stations not long after we were married, and we drove across America from East to west coast and again a few years back when we visited again for old time's sake. It's name came from the early Spanish explorers who mistakingly thought the local people were the Aztecs of Montezuma's fame. We also visited Montezuma's Well a few miles away. I loved your photos and am enjoying your posts on your holiday.