The site is located at the top of a large table-top mountain (mesa). The Ancestral Pueblo people noticed that the soil at the top was much more conducive to farming and decided to move there around the year 700.
|The top of the mesa is green (verde)|
|Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde|
|Notice the kivas (round subterranean structures) used for religious and family gatherings|
|Tour at Cliff Palace|
|Well-engineered 3-story building|
We also visited Spruce house, another outstanding example of a cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde. Here one of the kivas has been reconstructed with a roof as it would have originally looked.
|Spruce House where you can visit a reconstructed kiva|
I will leave you with the famous mystery of the Ancestral Pueblo people. In the late 1200's they left these elaborate structures and moved elsewhere. This happened simultaneously in many locations around the southwest. Nobody knows for sure why the people left, but it's likely due to drought conditions and increased population.
Mesa Verde National Park is amazing - go there.