The Manitou Cliff Dwellings

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings: A Unique Window into the Past

If you are looking for a fascinating and educational experience in Colorado, you might want to visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum and Preserve. This attraction features replica and reconstructed cliff dwellings that showcase the architecture and culture of the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi.

The Ancestral Puebloans were a group of Native Americans who lived in the Four Corners region of the Southwest from about 1200 BC to AD 1300. They are known for their remarkable achievements in pottery, weaving, farming, and building. Some of their most impressive structures are the cliff dwellings, which are stone and adobe houses built into the natural alcoves of the canyon walls.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are not original Ancestral Puebloan structures, but rather replicas that were relocated and reassembled from a collapsed site near Cortez, Colorado, in the early 1900s. The project was initiated by Virginia McClurg, a journalist and historic preservationist who wanted to protect and promote the Ancestral Puebloan heritage. She hired William Crosby and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Ruins Company to transport the stones by oxen, railroad, and wagon, and to rebuild them in Manitou Springs, a few miles west of Colorado Springs.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings consist of a 40-room site that resembles the cliff dwellings found in Mesa Verde National Park and other locations in the Four Corners. The site also includes a three-story pueblo building that represents the architecture of the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, who are descendants of the Ancestral Puebloans. The pueblo building was once home to a Native American family of dancers who entertained the visitors for several generations.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum and Preserve offers a unique opportunity to explore and learn about the Ancestral Puebloan culture and history. Visitors can walk through the dwellings, touch the walls, and imagine how the ancient people lived. The museum also displays various artifacts, tools, pottery, and weapons from the Ancestral Puebloan sites or replicated by the company. The museum also provides educational programs, guided tours, and special events throughout the year.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The admission fee is $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $6.50 for children, and free for children under 4. The attraction is located at 10 Cliff Dwellings Road, Manitou Springs, CO 80829. For more information, visit their website or call (719) 685-5242.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a great destination for anyone who is interested in the Ancestral Puebloan culture and history, or who simply wants to enjoy a scenic and interactive experience in Colorado. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are not only a museum and preserve, but also a tribute to the vision and efforts of Virginia McClurg and her associates, who wanted to share the beauty and wisdom of the ancient people with the world.

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