Montezuma Castle is a large pueblo structure built high into the cliff face of riverside limestone rocks. This formation is believed to have been built between the years 1,110-1,400. It is one of hundreds of formations discovered along the lush 800 mile-long Verde Valley, but it is one of the best preserved.
The signs in the park discuss how the construction was named by explorers long after its inhabitants had abandoned the area. They are now referred to as the Sinagua people. Sinagua means “no water” in Spanish, because the watersheds were believed to be dry when the Spanish explorers arrived.
Learning about the assumed lifestyle of the time as we walked around the concrete walkways that line the park boundaries was extremely interesting. Sadly, the public can no longer explore the pueblo formations, and they can only be viewed from the ground below. What is more tragic, though, is that we learned some of the formations are recreations.
Montezuma Well is a natural limestone sinkhole filled with carbon rich water, and it is another part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also believed to have served everyday and ceremonial purposes. Plus, there is a legend that a large water serpent lives inside the well.
The well is the only place like this in this area, but just like Montezuma Castle there are ancient pueblos in the cliffside. Though these are much smaller and not as well preserved, they are located in the walls of the sinkhole itself. Just like before, the natural life of this area was more interesting than the ruins.
The most interesting part about Montezuma Well is that the well is home to some species of life that have never been found anywhere else! There are five unique organisms that call the oxygen-deprived water home.
Both Montezuma Castle and Well were very interesting to explore and learn about. We still have so many questions about the way of life back when the people of this area flourished. It also introduced us to more ancient sites to explore the next time we are in Sedona!
See more from our Sedona vacation below:
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!