Wednesday, September 2, 2015 : Mesa Verde National Park

 

We are spending all day visiting Mesa Verde National Park.

 

This park, a designated World Heritage Site, counts awesome natural sites, as well as Pueblo dwellings enclosed in the cliffs, dating back from the 13th century.


Canyon in Mesa Verde National Park

Canyon in Mesa Verde National Park

 

Mesa Verde National Park consists of two plateaus (mesas), split by a rather deep canyon. Both mesas count manu Pueblo sites, that we are going to visit. Some require a ranger-guided tour, others can be visited on your own.

 

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

 

The most spectacular site in the park (and possibly the most famous) is Cliff Palace. It is a rather large village of 8 kivas (ceremonial rooms), with 100-150 inhabitants. At that time, the importance of a village is measured by the number of its kivas, more or less related to the number of families living there.

 

What makes Cliff Palace exceptional, beyond the fact that it is enclosed in an alcove inside the cliff, is its excellent state of preservation, quite a feat for a 13th century site that has been left unmaintained for more than 600 years.

 

Later, we visit Balcony House, a smaller but even more spectacular site. Beware of height scare !

 

Then we finish the day visiting various Pueblo ruins, and the park's museum.