Cliff Palace




Perched, seemingly impossibly, in an alcove in the sheer sandstone cliffs of Chapin Mesa, lies Cliff Palace. Cliff Palace is a cliff dwelling, the largest in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. To say that it is impressive is a complete understatement. “Palace” is a far more accurate description.

This ancient dwelling site, built somewhere around the 13th century, had over 100 rooms, although apparently it was in a constant state of construction and probably deconstruction. Although not a lot is known for certain, some archeological clues indicate that the palace was modified to suit to current people who called it home. Being nestled into an alcove, well below–yes, below–the rim of the canyon, meant that it was no simple matter to leave, yet, people did. Carving handholds in the canyon walls as well as being exceptionally clever about the routes, they were able to come and go just as we do today, except, of course, our front door isn’t 130 feet below our front step.

Today, long empty, Cliff Palace stands as a mute reminder to our history and the amazing resourcefulness that mankind can employ. It is also a testament to our power to build, even if modern day man has to help out here and there with some repairs. Cliff Palace is absolutely, positively, beyond compare.

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