Posts Tagged ‘Montezuma Castle’

Oh, Sylvia, this is a very, very difficult challenge for me, not because I don’t have any door photos, but because I have hundreds, having participated in Norm’s, now Dan’s, Thursday Doors challenge for years. I guess trying to choose is partly why it’s called a challenge. 🙂 I’m going with an eclectic gallery, starting with a church door from Philadelphia, a city full of interesting doors.

Then there are ancient doors that are difficult to reach on purpose! This is Montezuma Castle in Arizona. Coming home late? Be sure someone leaves the ladder out for you!

This French crypt has a rather wonderful door but as it’s ajar, I hope no one’s gotten out. Reminds me of the old joke of “When isn’t a door a door?” “When it’s ajar.” 🙂

Then there are moving pizza doors,

unique Colmar doors,

fancy furniture doors,

doors that might be a bit difficult to access,

doors that don’t even get noticed, and

details that make the door.

If you really enjoy doors, you should join Dan’s Thursday Doors, started and formerly hosted by Norm up in Canada, eh? Click on the highlighted link to find the entries for this last week and check in with Dan on Thursday at midnight EST or later to see his doors and link your entry. It’s lots of fun but very addictive!!

Day 4 of ten travel photos with no explanation necessary. Su from Zimmerbitch nominated me and today’s nomination to do the same? Debbie of Travel With Intent. If you decide to participate, please pingback/link to my post/blog. 🙂

This may not be what you imagined when I mentioned “castle” in my title. This is a old new world castle, a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua (without water) people and inhabited from the early 1100s to around 1425. Although it’s called Montezuma Castle, Montezuma was never here. The park isn’t large, but it is lovely and because of the trees, fairly shady, something always appreciated here.

Montezuma Castle was a cliff dwelling housing about 50 people. Residents of the apartment-style structure used long ladders to reach their high-rise homes. ~National Geographic

Until 1951, visitors to Montezuma Castle National Monument also used ladders to access the cliff dwelling. However, thousands of tourists trekking through the site began to wear down the delicate adobe structure. Ladders were removed and visitors can no longer directly access the castle. ~National Geographic

We’re at a higher elevation here than in the Phoenix area and you can tell that we’re also near water because of the trees and vegetation. The park is small but it’s a lovely walk even in the heat. Because it’s a national park, I was looking forward to using my Senior Pass to get us in for free, but because of COVID, there was no entrance fee. Nice of the park system!


One of the pleasures of visiting my parents in Arizona is not only the opportunity to be warm in winter, but to sometimes dip into another culture.  Montezuma Castle, not far from Sedona, looks great for being over 800 years old.  The Sinagua who lived here used a combination of hunting/gathering and subsistence agriculture to live until sometime in the 15th century, they left for no apparent reason.

Originally, visitors were allowed to go through the cliff dwellings, but that eventually stopped to better preserve the site.  That move allowed the site to be one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the United States.  Visit if you get a chance.

© janet m. webb

I’m popping in for just enough time to answer the Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way.  Then it’s back to very little internet until next week.  I’m enjoying my unconnected time, connecingt instead with family and nature.  But I do miss all of you and look forward to being able to interact more.  As I said in a previous post, thanks very much to everyone who visits and comments even when I can’t return the favor right now.

Michelle mentioned how she takes her camera with her on her trips and often comes across many wonderful photo opportunities “on the way” to her ultimate destination.  That’s one blessing of a phone camera: it’s always with me!  While her lovely photo was taken from a plane, I mostly drive, so my photo is one from a stop on the way from one place to another.  On our way from Mesa to Sedona, Arizona, we stopped at Montezuma Castle, where we saw this cliff dwelling.  The Sinagua lived here for about 250 years before abandoning it for unknown reasons.  Designated a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, visitors could originally climb into the cliff dwelling.  But the practice was discontinued in 1951 to prevent further damage. The area has nothing to do with Montezuma, but was coined by early settlers.


As the end of the month approaches, we participants in the Phoneography Challenge are loosed to choose our theme (from a suggesed list.) 🙂 I just returned from two lovely, warm weeks in Arizona, so my choice this month is “Travel.” I hope you’re somewhere warm right now, but if not, take a bit of warmth from these photos. You won’t even need suntan lotion.

The first photo was taken with an iPad 5s, using the panoramic feature (love that feature!!)   The other two were taken with my iPad.  There was no editing used on any of the photos.

Sunrise in Mesa, from behind my parents’ house…


Cliff dwellings at Montezuma Castle


Friendly natives at Gilbert Ortega Museum and Gallery in Scottsdale…


Quite a few people these days live or work in highrises, but the original highrise dwellers lived in cliffs. We visited one such cliff dwelling near Sedona, Arizona. Dubbed Montezuma Castle by the early American settlers in the area who erroneously assumed Aztec origin, this small cliff dwelling (about 35 people) and the area around it were populated sometime between 1100 and 1400 BC by the Southern Sinagua. Well-protected from the elements, it’s one of the best-preserved prehistoric structures in the Southwest.

The Sinagua were farmers and hunter-gatherers who built a riverside, five-story, apartment-style building with about 45 rooms. Ladders allowed access and could be pulled up at night or if danger threatened, although this was a peaceful time and area. The river provided water for farming on the fertile land and there were other Indians in the neighborhood. Game provided meat and the Indians mined a nearby salt deposit. Salt was likely used for trade.