Mesa Verde National Park

Story and Photography by Jerry Ginsberg

 

Spectacular Cliff Palace, largest of all ancient dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, CO. Cliff Palace was home to an advanced civilization until about the 13th century. Even now, no one is certain as to why they left. © Jerry Ginsberg

 

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Colorado sits the first and (almost) the only national park established to protect the works of man, rather than Nature, the fascinating Mesa Verde.

Hidden for centuries and unknown to Europeans until a couple of cowboys looking for strays stumbled upon it in 1888, this treasure trove of Native American history includes several thousand structures, both simple and complex, that were built here spanning a period that is estimated to have lasted from perhaps 600 to about 1300 C.E.

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