Top The “castle” structure at Montezuma Castle National Monument in Yavapai County, Arizona. Miners and soldiers who visited the site in the 1860s mistakenly associated the site with the Aztec ruler Montezuma, and the name stuck. The multiple-dwelling structure was built by Sinaguan people around 1200 CE, and has no direct association with Mexican Indian cultures.
Bottom Cliff swallow nests, built of mud in a crevice in the white Verde Formation limestone at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Like the ancestral Native Americans who built in the rocks and caves here, the swallows enjoy easy access to the Verde River for building materials, forage for food, and shelter in the rock overhangs.
Happy 110th birthday to Montezuma Castle National Monument! On Dec. 8, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to declare this as a place “of the greatest ethnological value and scientific interest.” Have you visited this beautifully disguised castle nestled into the towering limestone of Arizona cliffs?