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Montezuma's Castle National Monument, located
near Camp Verde in central Arizona, features well-
preserved cliff dwellings. They were built by the
Pre-Columbian Sinagua people around 1400 AD.
When European Americans discovered these ancient
dwellings in the 1860s, they reported native
traditions recalling they had been built by a
divine hero named Montezuma; whose name may have
been connected with the well-known historical Aztec
emperor of Mexico, Montezuma II, and accounts in
Spanish as early as 1694 reference them as the
"Casas de Montezuma." Some of these accounts have
led to a mistaken belief that the Spanish or
Americans themselves had named them after the
The dwellings and the surrounding area were
declared a U.S. National Monument on Dec. 8, 1906.
There is a paved trail of 1/4-mile from the
visitor center along the base of the limestone
cliff containing the ruins. Access to the ruins
has not been allowed since 1950.
As you might guess, a number of Diamond-Backed
Rattlesnakes inhabit the alcoves and small caves
in this area during the summer months.
(That's probably one of the reasons why access to the
ruins has not been allowed since 1950.)