Mesa Verde is a national park located in the Four Corners region, where the U.S. states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. Spread over 207 square kilometers, Mesa Verde represents the largest concentration of cliff dwellings of the Anasazi tribe, who lived here between 600-1300 AD. Mesa Verde, or the Green Table, takes its name from the high plateau, ranging in altitude from 1828 m to 2590 m, which is overgrown with juniper woods and the rare Gambella oak. Herds of black-tailed deer can be seen here and there, as well as red foxes, coyotes, etc. In spring it is very beautiful here, because many flowers bloom, and the red-yellow leaves of the Gambella oak are especially impressive in autumn. Because of the dense forested areas punctuated by lower grasses, jagged peaks and valleys, the discovery of these unique cliff dwellings occurred after about 600 years. Spanish explorers first entered this region in 1760-1770 and they gave the Mesa Verde plateau its name.

The cliff dwellings were discovered quite by accident in 1888 by two local friends, Richard Weatherill and Charles Mays, who were searching for a lost cow. Climbing on the plateau, they noticed faint outlines of walls and towers resembling a large stone palace. The two men hastily constructed a ladder and descended into the deserted rock home. In one of the rooms they found serviceable tools. They were made of wood, bone and stone. The archaeologists set about discovering many more such settlements in the area - around 600 - and studying the people who created them - the Anasazi tribe, descendants of the Pueblo tribe. After the discovery of the unique rock settlements, the looting of various objects and artifacts from this exceptional place began. The state had to intervene and in 1906 Mesa Verde was declared a national park by the American President Theodore Roosevelt.

The most famous dwelling in Mesa Verde is the Rock Palace, which is a four-story building built under a huge rock. There are about 220 rooms in number, and there are also 23 kivas - these are circular underground ritual rooms, with roofs of leaves, a thick layer of mud and an opening through which they descended inside. About 100 people lived in the rock palace. With their self-made tools made from river stones, the Anasazi worked the stones from the river into tiles of a certain size. Using cedar beams and a mixture of clay, water, mud and pebbles, they joined the tiles and built their amazing dwellings. This largest building was the main social and administrative site, also used for ritual purposes. The height of the rooms gives an idea of the height of the people of the tribe - 163 cm for men and 152 for women.

The other large cliff dwelling is the House of Spruce Trees, so called because of the large trees, which the discoverers of this building came across, having a width of 66 m and 27 m greatest depth. There are 130 rooms here, and also 8 ritual rooms or kiwis. The house with the balconies is the most exotic and hard-to-reach place because the cliff dwellings are located at a height of 180 m above the canyon floor. The tunnels and passages make their visit by tourists in the Mesa Verde Park, a great adventure. At first, a ladder must be descended by the visitor to a depth of 30 m, then another ladder and a four-meter stone tunnel must be crawled through, followed by a climb of another 20 m in height. The House with the Balconies has 40 rooms, which are considered medium-sized rooms compared to other rock dwellings in Mesa Verde.

The rock dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park are a striking example of the Anasazi construction technique and their artful stonework. The surface of many of the walls are painted red, yellow, and white, which have faded over time. The people of the Anasazi tribe practiced agriculture-growing beans, corn, and other agricultural crops. From cedar bark and the fibers of evergreens, they made wicker baskets and containers so dense that water and prepared food could be poured into them. Water was supplied from the river at the bottom of the canyon. From what archaeologists have discovered and studied, the Anasazi were a hard-working people. What is a mystery is that they left their dwellings in the 1300s, but the spirit of an ancient culture has been preserved here, inspiring admiration.

Mesa Verde National Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978. Modern visitors have the opportunity to experience the same feelings as the first explorers, and the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde arouse the wonder of hundreds of thousands of tourists.

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