Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. It was created in 1906 to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world. The park features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the Ancestral Puebloan people, sometimes called the Anasazi.
Its canyons were created by erosion from receding ancient oceans and waterways, which resulted in Mesa Verde National Park elevations ranging from about 6,000 to 8,572 feet, the highest elevation at Park Point.
The climate is semi-arid. Water for farming and consumption by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples was provided by summer rains, winter snowfall and seeps and springs in and near the Mesa Verde villages.
The Anasazi inhabited Mesa Verde between AD 550 to 1300. These people were mainly subsistence farmers, growing crops on nearby mesas. Their primary crop was corn, which was also the major part of their diet. Men were also hunters, which further increased their food supply.
By 750 AD, the people were building mesa-top villages made of adobe. By the late 12th century, they began to build the cliff dwellings, which are structures built within caves and under outcropping in cliffs.
The cliff dwellings were built with obvious attention to managing solar energy. In the winter, the angle of the sun warmed the masonry of the cliff dwellings, warm breezes blew from the valley, and the air was 10-20 degrees warmer in the canyon alcoves than on the top of the mesa.
One of my favorite places in this country, just fascinating isn't it?! I'm not sure I'd brave the ladder to get down to them any more! :-)