Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado encompasses about 4,000 prehistoric sites of the Anasazi people. The area is also famed for its splendid natural landscape and other archeological treasures. Find out more about Mesa Verde by taking this quiz.
The Anasazi people once inhabited this region, developing it as a highly advanced civilization for the time.
The Visitor Center is open from mid-April to mid-October.
There is a museum at Mesa Verde, as well as a campground and a park lodge.
"Anasazi" in Navajo means "ancient ones."
The cliff dwellings, already several hundred years old, are well preserved because of the dry climate.
You can see many species of animals there, including rabbits, mule deer, turkey, red foxes, coyotes and lizards.
We know that they left suddenly, although why remains a matter of conjecture.
The alcoves were formed naturally as a result of water percolating down through the sandstone.
It was Willa Cather, a renowned novelist who wrote much about frontier life.
Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America, boasting about 200 rooms.
Spruce Tree House is ideal for a self-guided tour, whereas Cliff Palace and Balcony House are accessible only on a ranger-guided tour.
They harvested nuts from these trees.
The name actually came from a mistake. Early explorers climbed down a tall tree there to reach the dwelling and they thought it was spruce, which it wasn't.
Balcony House was perched high up in a cliff alcove and this made it easily defended.
It has been inhabited for about 2,500 years.
The early inhabitants of Mesa Verde engaged in farming corn and beans and in basket weaving.
They were called pueblos and they were apartment-like structures surrounding an open plaza.
Archeologists aren't certain, but they believe that they may have been threatened by tribes of newcomers.
They were used for religious ceremonies.
The lifespan was 35 years, probably due to the harsh living conditions there.