Montezuma’s Castle-Taliesen West

It’s Architecture Day, on the way from Sedona to Phoenix. First stop is Montezuma’s Well and Castle, with cliff dwellings roughly 800 years old, built by the Sinagua peoples. The well is a huge freshwater pit, fed by an underground spring, in the middle of the desert, with some cliff dwellings (and graffiti from the 1800s). Geologic, historic, and zoological marvel.

A few exits down the road is Montezuma’s Castle, a massive, 5-story cliff dwelling. They no longer allow tourists to climb ladders into the castle for safety, vandalism, and preservation reasons, but researchers have found evidence of a thriving trade culture here with South American parrots, seashells, jewels, plants and other non-local materials.  Apparently ancient people came here for the valuable local product – salt!  mmm…

Our next stop was another architectural marvel – Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio, workshop, and school, Taliesen West. The entire place was built by his students, practicing design and building with local materials. Many features were experiments, some that worked, some that didn’t, many showing signs of students’ on-the-job learning. Most of the furniture was designed by Wright, more for the look than the comfort!

Checked in in Phoenix, then headed to Mesa, AZ, home of Arizona State, for the shopping/dining/drinking mecca.


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