Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Manitou Cliff Dwellings in Colorado

Visiting the Manitou Cliff Dwellings was on our list of things to do while in southeast Colorado. Manitou Springs is directly west of Colorado Springs, actually the oldest part of the metropolitan area, and right below Pikes Peak. I was surprised to find that these cliff dwellings weren't originally in this rock formation, but were reassembled in 1907 from Anasazi ruins near the Four Corners area of Colorado. The Anasazi culture existed from about 1100 A.D. to 1300 A.D. No one knows for sure why the cliff dwellings, like those in Colorado (Mesa Verde) and New Mexico (Gila Cliff Dwellings), were abandoned.

Mr. Keith likes his new little house!

These apartments are very small and housed several families each. It looks like the natives used them mostly for shelter and for sleeping. There were no fireplaces inside, but we did see some areas used for grinding grains.

The way the dwellings were reconstructed makes them easy to explore and peek into.

This natural cliff overhang is the perfect place to preserve and display the ancient dwellings. I have to admire the people who had the vision to do this way back in 1907, keeping it open for tourists all that time.

Next to the Cliff Dwellings is a three-story Pueblo-style building in the style of the descendants of the Anasazi. The first six rooms of this Pueblo were built in 1898. Until 1984 local Native Americans actually lived in these rooms. Since then the building has been expanded and now houses a large gift shop and museum. Mr. Keith and I tend not to spend too much time in museums where everything is inside glass cases. The Gift Shop was much more interesting, and of course I bought a t-shirt!

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