Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado – About living in a mountain and the art of being in four places at the same time

Mesa Verde is the first and only national park in the United States that protects a human heritage site. The cliff dwellings were discovered only in the end of the 19th century. This region’s inhabitants lived from the years 600 to 1300 in settled villages and built stone houses temporarily under cave-like overhangs into the rock. In the end of the 13th century the formerly named Anasazi, now preferably called Pueblo Indians abandoned this area over a time of about two generations still before the arrival of the Whites. A prolonged drought possibly induced the farming Indians to make this move. Their descendants still live in the south-western USA. The national park is situated on a green, densely wooded plateau (wherefrom the Spanish name Mesa Verde comes) between 2,100 and 2,600 m elevation, towering above the surrounding plain by up to 600 m. The archaeological finds belong to the most important and best conserved ones in the United States. Up to four floor residential and store towers, different ruins of precedent more primitive habitations, earthenware, weapons, clothing, and much more count among these finds. Besides the cliff dwellings and varied excavations one can have a look in the museum at several cultural assets that allow an insight into the life of the former inhabitants.

The Four Corners Monument is located in a distance of about 50 miles. That is the only place in the USA where four states meet in one corner. The whole thing is for 3 $ entrance fee (annual interagency passes not accepted) relatively unspectacular and more commercially concentrated on selling souvenirs by the Navajo Indians who run the monument. But it’s a kind of need to get down on all fours and be with each hand and foot in another state, and therefore in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico at the same time.

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