Montezuma’s Castle

Ancient tribal history abounds in America’s southwest.  The Sinagua were a prehistoric society that once flourished on the high desert plains of Central Arizona and subsisted mainly as farmers, hunters and gatherers.  The Southern Sinagua migrated to the Verde Valley around 1150 and began building large pueblos on hilltops and in cliffs.  When early settlers discovered a 5-story, 20-room dwelling carved out of a towering rock cliff near Camp Verde, they assumed it was Aztec in origin and called it Montezuma’s Castle.

Ancient castle in a cliff

Beaver Creek below the cliff castle

The Southern Sinegua who thrived at Montezuma’s Castle until 1400’s were surrounded by an abundance of resources.  Near their dwelling and 100 feet below the cliff was water from Beaver Creek which they redirected by digging irrigation ditches throughout the fertile land alongside the  waterway.  There was also plenty of game to supplement their corn-based diet including deer, antelope, rabbit, duck and bear.

The woodland below

Remnants of Montezuma's next door neighbour

Montezuma’s Castle looms over the surrounding wooded countryside which is predominently towering sicamore trees in full fall colours.

Sicamore trees

Surrounding cliffs and sicamores

More cliffs

Valley below

Another look at the valley below

Then one day, without explanation, the Southern Sinagua abandoned these cliffs and pueblos leaving behind a legacy of rich southwestern tribal culture.

Pueblo ruins above cliffs

Click below to get a glimpse of the Sinagua nation’s way of life in pre-historic America as told by this national park’s interpretive center:

May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.
May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows
And may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.
~Native American prayer blessing~

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9 Responses to Montezuma’s Castle

  1. Malou Prestado says:

    Amazing posts and the pictures are just gorgeous!

  2. Peg says:

    So glad to see your spirit lifted at last. This incredible journey has been a long time coming. And hey, if you find yourself short of funds, you might get some free lance photography work – your pictures are amazing.

    • Shanomi says:

      Thanks Peg. There’s no shortage of photographic material here in Arizona. It’s a photographer’s dream – lush valleys to barren mountains, towering red rocks to flat desert plains, flowing rivers to dried-up washes, ancient tribal historic ruins to avant-garde contemporary structures, and on and on. This whole area is reminiscent of my time in Australia’s outback years ago – many similarities, and I often find myself thinking that I’m “down under”, especially when I’m out driving around on the primitive bush roads. Wish you could see it all – through your own eyes, not my cell phone lens.

  3. Shanomi says:

    Mass Ascension!! That thought never crossed my mind – only you would come up with that idea. And the few late bloomers who supposedly stayed behind and who mixed in with another nation were probably not ready to uplift – more lessons in spirit school comin’ at ya. Love it, thanks.
    S 🙂

  4. Jackie says:

    Wow … cool spot ! So no one knows what happened to all those people?! Ascension through a stargate portal to the cities of light?? Just a late night thought! Glad to see you are exploring and seeing so many wonders!!

  5. Shanomi, I love how your gorgeous banner photos change from article to article. That took me a long while to figure out how! But ya could embed your next video’s if you’d like (see

    I didn’t click on your Youtube link at first, as I thought it was just an educational website link instead. SO REMEMBER TO TELL US WHAT TO DO 🙂 like with that cool kaleidoscope photo!!


  6. Paulette says:

    Hey Shanomi, so why did they build up there? I can assume to be away from attacking animals?
    which is funny because they had to go down into the valley to work. You are getting around I see. Any chance of taking in some workshops ? hugs,

    • Shanomi says:

      Hey Paulette. From what I’ve read, they lived in these caves to protect themselves not only from animals but also from other possibly unfriendly tribal nations that might be migrating in the area. These cave dwellings also kept them warm in cold weather and cool in scorching hot summer. Stay tuned to my next post on Montezuma’s Well – the energy there made my legs wabble it was so powerful. A friend of mine went with me and she saw grandfathers and grandmothers all around the trails. Ciao for now, or should I say “Ho”. Blessings to you. Shanomi

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