Montezuma's Castle

USA - Arizona



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Was it Montezuma's castle?

It is called 'Montezuma's castle', but it is misnamed, it's not a castle and who knows if the Aztec's ever where here.
Montezuma Castle National Monument (Monument since 1906) Arizona, north of Cordes Junction, off Interstate I-17 take Exit 289, between Phoenix and Flagstaff. It's an interesting stopover coming from or going to the Grand Canyon. Nestled into the limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley, it is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America, first inhabited by the Anasazi Indians. One can not enter this 5-story high with it's 20 rooms cliff dwelling, served as a 'high-rise apartement building' for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. It is only to be stared at in astonishment from beneath. Early settlers to this area assumed that the imposing structure was associated with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but the castle was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born.
Specially in fall this small birch wood beneath the castle is painted in wonderful bright colours, and against the azure-blue sky this is quite a sight. I enjoyed visiting this place very much, and I just couldn't resist the picturesque scenery. One can tell because I took one picture after the other even though there is not much to take pictures of. One can understand why the inhabitants must've enjoyed living here beside this small river bank, the Verde River.
Open all the year, entrance fee at the time $ 3.00. The Visitor Center contains a small museum displaying artifacts. Southwest Parks and Monuments Association runs a small bookstore in the Visitor Center. No food suplies though. It's worth a visit for sure !
About Montezuma -
The most familiar figure in Aztec history for many people is Montezuma II, the great leader of the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish conquest.
Montezuma II, in Nahuati Montecuhzoma (1480-1520), ruler of the Aztec Empire of Mexico. He succeeded Ahuizotl (1486-1502), and ruled during the Spanish invasion of his country. When the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico (1519), Montezuma believed that he was the Aztec god-king Quetzalcoatl. Accordingly, Cortés was presented with elaborate gold and silver gifts. Later, fearful that the Aztecs would attack the outnumbered Spanish troops, Cortés held Montezuma hostage. In June 1520, the Aztecs, growing restive under Spanish control, revolted. Cortés called on Montezuma to quell the revolt, but the Aztec ruler was stoned by his own people while addressing his subjects. He reportedly died three days later. Montezuma was succeeded by Cuitlahuac and 80 days later by his nephew, the last Aztec ruler, Guatemotzin.
Interesting to see in Vienna: Ethnology Museum.


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