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Magical Architecture: Mesa Verde

It’s Like a Miniature City Cut Inside a Cliff

As a kid, I got a lot of my inspirations from Carl Barks’s Uncle Scrooge Comics. One episode that particularly got me going was entitled “The Seven Cities of Gold,” about a city of cliff dwellings made of gold that the Spanish conquistadores had somehow overlooked. It was called Cibola.

After the city was accidentally destroyed by Huey, Dewey, and Louie, I vowed to find it—and I did. It was at Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, Colorado. Here are a few images from the comic:

Uncle Scrooge Finds the Seven Cities of Cibola

If you ever get a chance to visit Mesa Verde, be sure to visit the Cliff Palace ruins. You can actually climb down to see them with a ranger (that is, when the coronavirus infestation finally dies down). Martine and I saw them some years ago, though Martine was troubled with altitude sickness. The elevation there is between 7,000 and 8,500 feet (2133 to 2591 meters).

Anasazi Ruins at Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

Life must have been difficult for the Cliff Palace dwellers, as they had to haul water in using ladders. The ruins were deserted around the same time that many other Anasazi ruins, such as Chaco Canyon, were abandoned.

What happened to the inhabitants? As I wrote earlier regarding Chaco, I am sure their descendants are the Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico.