Montezuma Castle National Monument
Impossibly tucked into a natural limestone alcove 50-100ft above the floor of Beaver Creek, Montezuma Castle formed part of a larger early-12C Sinaguan community. The five-story, 20-room castle was misnamed by Europeans, who presumed it had been constructed for 16C Aztec emperor Montezuma.Not intended as a fortress, the dwelling's location protected its occupants from the elements and supplied natural insulation against heat and cold. Nor did it take up valuable farmland. Sinaguans created the rooms by hauling chunks of limestone and baskets of mud mortar up crude pole ladders.About 5mi north of Montezuma Castle, the monument's Montezuma Well unit preserves a 55ft-deep limestone sink formed millions of years ago by the collapse of an underground cavern. Sinagua farmers diverted water from this spring-fed well to irrigate crops. On the edge of the well are remnants of several additional Sinaguan dwellings and a c.1100 Hohokam pit house.
[May-Sep: 8am-6pm; Oct-Apr: 8am-5pm]