The Wukoki Pueblo Ruins stand tall in a vast wilderness just east of the Grand Canyon inside the Wupatki National Monument. A large civilization once lived in the Wupatki Pueblo Complex about 1,000 years ago and Wukoki is one of satellite structures that remain intact. Wukoki is renowned for being one of the most beautiful examples of ancient Native American architecture in the west and this building truly is a majestic sight to behold!
There are many mysteries surrounding the origins of Wukoki that may never be unraveled and the origins of the ancestors that lived in this place are not completely understood as well. It is said that the nearby Sunset Crater Volcano played an important role in why this place was chosen for a civilization to flourish. Fresh volcano cinders can be seen everywhere in this area, since the eruption occurred only about 1,000 years ago. Because of this documented volcanic eruption, most archaeologists agree that the Wupatki pueblo network must have been a place of safety for civilizations that called the mountains near Flagstaff their home.
The design of Wupatki resembles many other ancient pueblo complexes in the Southwest. It is the adobe mortar and stone shard chinking, along with the overall architectural design that shows these sacred places share a common heritage, yet each has a character of its own. All it takes is something like a small shard of pottery or the remnants of a hand crafted totem to help put the pieces of the puzzle together. This is why it is so important to obey the rules when visiting the ancient heritage sites of the west. Climbing on the pueblo walls is taboo for obvious reasons and picking up tiny artifacts to take home is not allowed. These sacred places are for the eyes only and all that should be brought back home are the pleasant memories and the snapshots in the camera.
As soon as a glimpse of Wukoki is seen in the distance while walking down the trail, it is easy to get the feeling of approaching a very special place. The ominous Wukoki Pueblo stands tall in the panoramic high desert landscape, which stretches out to the horizon. The red sandstone outcrop that Wukoki is built upon adds to the dramatic visual effect, which is not easy to describe with words alone. The towering Wukoki Pueblo overlooks the grassy plains and a box canyons where ancient agricultural practices once took place, which is something to ponder over.
Wukoki is as majestic as can be and a visit will provide pleasant memories that last a lifetime. The Wupatki National Monument is one of many ancient heritage sites in the west and it is one of the easiest to access by passenger car. There are many other ancient pueblos in this part of Arizona and for Grand Canyon visitors, Wupatki is a good choice for starting a native heritage tour!
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