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Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is located in Montezuma
County, Colorado state in United States. It is designated as an UNESCO
World Heritage Site for the ruined settlement of the Anasazi
tribe. This historic reserve covers a total area of 52,485 acres
Mesa Verde National Park protects a large area of
various Anasazi ruin that were build on various levels of the canyon at an
elevation between 1,900 and 2,600 meters above sea level. With over 700,000
visitors each year, it is one of the most visited parks in a state of Colorado.
Mesa Verde settlement started as several small shacks of ancient
farmers who first settled here in the 6th century AD. They supported their
livelihood by growing maize on terraces on top of a canyon. They constructed
their shelters at the side of the canyon to hide from sun rays. Around 13th
century the settlement grew in size as population exponentially increased.
Several multi story apartment buildings were erected to house the whole
population. It was constructed from yellow sandstone, mortar and wooden beams
that are supported the whole structure. Some walls have collapsed, but stains on
canyon ceiling give an idea where the buildings once stood.
Anasazi Native tribes mysteriously disappeared before the arrival
of Europeans so we have no written records of what happened to them. Pueblo
natives that were related to the Anasazi, claimed residents of Mesa Verde
gathered for celebration. The canyon was struck by an earthquake and all
unfortunate victims fell through the cracks. However these are just oral
tradition. Archeologists never discovered the real reason for their
The name of Mesa Verde is derived from a eponymous plateau that
rises 600 meters above the surrounding terrain, those slopes are covered with
pine forest. In Spanish "Mesa Verde" can be translated as "green table" due to
its appearance. First European settlers came to the area in the 19th century.
Mesa Verde ruins were first explored by Richard Uezeril, an amateur historian,
and later by Swedish geologist Gustaf Nordenskiold. Mesa Verde National Park was
established in 1906 to protect ancient ruins against possible vandalism. It was
further added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage site.