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Montezuma Castle National Monument near Sedona, AZ

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Posse Grounds Pavilion in Sedona
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a protected and preserved ancient group of Pueblo Indian cliff dwelling near Camp Verde, Arizona.

Located along Interstate 17, about halfway between Flagstaff and Phoenix, the dwellings are carved out of the side of a cliff, 90 feet above the ground below. There are about 20 well preserved rooms with five stories or floors. They were built by the Sinagua people. Scientists believed they lived there between 1100 and 1425 a.d. and that the buildings were abandoned around 1425 for unknown reasons.

At the cliff dwellings there is a trail through a sycamore grove where you can see the dwellings from many different angles. There are bird watching tours in winter and interpretive tours where park rangers give information about the site are also available. The Montezuma Well, a companion site, is only 11 miles away. The well is an oasis in the desert that has been used for hundreds of years, and is one of the few Arizona streams that has water year-round. There is also a trail at the well.

The cliff dwellings were given the name 'Montezuma Castle' by explorers in the 1860, but there is no relationship between them and the Aztec emperor Montezuma. They are also not a castle, but the name stuck anyway. Modern Hopi and Yavapai Native American groups can trace their ancestry to these people.

At the park, there is a visitors center with lots of information about this site. The visitors center has exhibits about the life and history of the Sinaguan Indians who built the cliff dwellings. The park is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m daily and is only closed on Christmas Day.


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