Mesa Verde

Kiva in Spruce Tree House #2 Kiva in Spruce Tree House #1 Kiva Entrance

Mesa Verde National Park is really a large archaeological park with many cliff dwellings erected by the by Ancestral Puebloans who lived there between 550 and 1300 AD. With its 150 rooms, Cliff Palace is the largest of all the dwellings in Mesa Verde, Colorado United States. It seems that the structures were built without any architectural plan sequentially filling all available space. However, not all buildings are completely random. Two towers, one square and one round symbolize the balance of the forces in nature. The towers represent the feminine power that is balanced by the masculine counterpart.

Cliff Palace Dwelling #1 Rectangle Shaped Doorway Anasazi Window

Cliff Palace View #1
Panorama composed of three images
Cliff Palace Buildings

Kiva is a Hopi name for the special purpose room, in Mesa Verde usually an underground stone chamber. Kivas are cold inside in summer and warm in winter because of fire in the very center. Archeologists believe that they were used for group gatherings and everyday activities. They were a place for the ceremonies like praying for rain, good crops, successful hunting, and of course healing rituals.

Cliff Palace Dwelling #2 Two towers of Cliff Palace
Panorama composed of two images

T-shaped Doorway #2 Square Tower House Cliff Palace View #3
Panorama composed of three images

There are two types of doorways in Ancestral Puebloans architecture, rectangular and T-shaped. Rectangular, always smaller and easier to cover, probably lead to domestic and private quarters. Typically larger T-shaped doorways are related to public spaces usually with open access to all residents.

Balcony House View
Panorama composed of three images