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Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan people who made this region their home for over 700 years. From the 7th to the 14th centuries this was a thriving community and the park now protects over 4,000 known archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings that are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

Mesa Verde National Park, USAThe park is set high in the densely wooded plateaux of southwest Colorado, cut at its southern edge by deep canyons, and was so far off the beaten track that it was not fully explored until 1888. The highly skilled Ancestral Puebloans are thought to have been the only people ever to have inhabited the region. After many centuries they moved from the mesa tops to construct multi-story houses nestled in rocky alcoves high above the canyons.

The most notable ruins include Balcony House, Long House and Spruce Tree House but the highlight is surely Cliff Palace. This extraordinary building is tucked 100 feet below an overhanging rock ledge and its 217 rooms once housed more than 200 people. A visit here provides a haunting evocation of a lost and little known world.

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Map of Mesa Verde National Park

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