Montezuma Castle Preserves Native American Culture in Arizona

Montezuma Castle in Arizona – Photo: kinglear55 | Flickr

Home to 22 federally recognized Native American tribes, Arizona is filled with many stunning and fascinating tributes to Native American culture. One of the must-see dedications is Montezuma Castle, which was established on December 8, 1906.

Montezuma Castle is a vast, 20-room, five-story high-rise apartment complex that is built into the limestone cliffs of Yavapai County, Arizona. A national monument, this structure specifically represents and protects the well-preserved living spaces of the Sinagua Indians.

Close up of the cliff dwellings at Montezuma Castle in Arizona – Photo by James A. Molnar on Unsplash

According to the United States National Park Service, experts have studied Montezuma Castle and determined that it took over three centuries to build. It provided shelter to the Sinagua Indians when the flood seasons hit.

A diorama of what Montezuma Castle would have looked like when it was in use – Photo: Jeremy Thompson | Flickr

European-Americans named this structure after the Aztec emperor, Montezuma. However, it does not have any kind of historical connection to him. In fact, the Sinagua Indians abandoned it more than 40 years before he was even born.

Today, Montezuma Castle receives visits from roughly 350,000 people each year.

In addition to the structure itself, there is also an on-site museum and bookstore that provides more insight into the castle’s history, as well as a chance for visitors to buy souvenirs. Visitors can also walk through the sycamore grove nearby to enjoy some shade and learn about the habitat that supports a variety of animals and native plants in the area.

For those who want to enjoy more history during their tour of Montezuma castle, there is another prehistoric complex located just a few feet away.

The complex is admittedly not as well-preserved as Montezuma Castle and features just a few rooms. However, these rooms are also split up across several levels and make for an interesting visit, especially since they’re so close to the main structure.

Those who want to visit Montezuma Castle may want to book a stay in Camp Verde, which is just 5 miles away, or Sedona, which is located just 25 miles away.