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Tse' Bii'ndzisgaii (Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah, USA)
(October 2000)

The beauty of Monument Valley has been recognized by the Navajo people and their predecessors for hundreds of years. The area is home to many Navajo holy sites where spiritual rituals are still performed today.

The Monument Valley area is part of the Navajo Reservation and administered by the Navajo Nation - the largest remaining Native American tribe in the United States. The Navajo call themselves 'Dineh' which means 'The People'.

For the Navajo, many of the site's features have special religious names with no easy translation into any other language. Today's rather simplistic names (Mitten, Totem Pole, Three Sisters, etc.) were given to the buttes relatively recently by European colonialists, in particular Harry Goulding who set up an eponymous trading post in 1923.
 
Click for larger image! The Mittens - One of the first spectacular sites to greet the visitor are the East and West Mittens.All the buttes in Monument valley have been formed over millennia as the wind has eroded the softer sandstone. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! Ear of the Wind - Residing in a restricted area of the park, this huge arch is a stunning testament to the powers of wind and sand over time. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
The Mittens

One of the first spectacular sites to greet the visitor are the East and West Mittens.All the buttes in Monument valley have been formed over millennia as the wind has eroded the softer sandstone.

Ear of the Wind

Residing in a restricted area of the park, this huge arch is a stunning testament to the powers of wind and sand over time.

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Click for larger image! Female Hogan - The traditional homes of the Navajo are called hogans. Each is constructed from wooden logs, then sealed with soil from the desert floor. Hogans are built with bare earthen floors and a smoke hole in the ceiling such that contact is maintained with Mother Earth and Father Sky. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! Inside a Rug Weaver's Hogan - Navajo rugs are famed the world over and some beautiful examples can be seen inside the hogan of this wizened rug weaver. This picture is taken inside the same hogan shown to the left.<br>  Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Female Hogan

The traditional homes of the Navajo are called hogans. Each is constructed from wooden logs, then sealed with soil from the desert floor. Hogans are built with bare earthen floors and a smoke hole in the ceiling such that contact is maintained with Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Inside a Rug Weaver's Hogan

Navajo rugs are famed the world over and some beautiful examples can be seen inside the hogan of this wizened rug weaver. This picture is taken inside the same hogan shown to the left.
 

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Click for larger image! Male Hogan - The male hogan is an alternative style of hogan to the female hogan. It is faster and easier to make than the female hogan, but generally smaller in size. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! Ancient rock etchings - These drawings are a sample of the ancient artwork to be found in Monument Valley. The rock etchings were probably made by the Anasazi who inhabited the area up to around 1300 AD, prior to the arrival of the Navajo. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Male Hogan

The male hogan is an alternative style of hogan to the female hogan. It is faster and easier to make than the female hogan, but generally smaller in size.

Ancient rock etchings

These drawings are a sample of the ancient artwork to be found in Monument Valley. The rock etchings were probably made by the Anasazi who inhabited the area up to around 1300 AD, prior to the arrival of the Navajo.

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Click for larger image! Magnificent Monoliths - One of the many impressive views of Monument Valley which can only be seen from the restricted area. The restricted area may only be entered with an authorized Navajo guide.  Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! The Apache or Big Hogan - A wind eroded hole in the ceiling of this cave has given rise to stains which bear a remarkable likeness to a human profile with thick black hair. The cave is also known as 'Big Hogan' due to the rounded shape and chimney-like location of the natural hole. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Magnificent Monoliths

One of the many impressive views of Monument Valley which can only be seen from the restricted area. The restricted area may only be entered with an authorized Navajo guide.

The Apache or Big Hogan

A wind eroded hole in the ceiling of this cave has given rise to stains which bear a remarkable likeness to a human profile with thick black hair. The cave is also known as 'Big Hogan' due to the rounded shape and chimney-like location of the natural hole.

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Click for larger image! John Ford's Point - Aside from the stunning view, it is worth noting the dirt trail that runs at the base of the buttes. The cars making their way along the trail appear as specks in comparison to the grand giants. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! Fine Sand - Millions of years of erosion have converted tonnes of sandstone into the fine sand that piles up in great dunes today. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
John Ford's Point

Aside from the stunning view, it is worth noting the dirt trail that runs at the base of the buttes. The cars making their way along the trail appear as specks in comparison to the grand giants.

Fine Sand

Millions of years of erosion have converted tonnes of sandstone into the fine sand that piles up in great dunes today.

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Click for larger image! Totem Pole Rock - Despite the fact that the Navajo have never made totem poles, the tall, narrow, shape of this rock made the name of seem appropriate. Totem Pole Rock is amongst the most well known features of Monument Valley. Keywords: us,usa,sonora,monument valley,monument,valley,arizona,desert,ancient,site
(Click to view)
Totem Pole Rock

Despite the fact that the Navajo have never made totem poles, the tall, narrow, shape of this rock made the name of seem appropriate. Totem Pole Rock is amongst the most well known features of Monument Valley.

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Information

Location:
Monument Valley straddles the north-east corner of Arizona andsouth-east corner of Utah. The park is accessible only from Highway163, is around 24 (38km) miles north of Kayenta, AZ, and 22 miles(35km) south of Mexican Hat, UT.

Getting there:
Air:There are no major airports near Monument Valley however privateflights are offered in conjunction with some tours.Below is a list of airports within around 8 hours drive.

Well serviced airports:
Albuquerque, NM (ABQ)
Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
Las Vegas, NV (LAS)

Smaller airports:
Page, AZ (PGA)
Flagstaff, AZ (FLG)
St George, UT (SGU)
Grand Junction, CO (GJT)
Cedar City, UT (CDC)
Grand Canyon, AZ (GCN)

Bus:Bus tours of monument valley are available from Las Vegas, NV, and Flagstaff, AZ.

Car:Monument Valley is located to the east of highway 163, between thetowns of Kayenta (to the south) and Mexican Hat (to the north).

Links:
Note: The following links are provided for informational purposesonly and do not imply any endorsement or recommendation of any service.

Tours:
http://www.navahopitours.com/reservations.htm
Bus tours and rides from surrounding cities.

Park Guides:
http://www.gorp.com/gorp/location/az/monvall3.htm
http://www.desertusa.com/monvalley/index.html
http://www.go-utah.com/utah/monument-valley/tribal-park.html

Photography Guides:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/monument_valley_2000.htm
Photography tips and some amazing photographs.

Navajo Information:
http://www.americanwest.com/pages/navajo2.htm
An overview of the Navajo Nation and their territory.

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Cuba - Rotorua, New Zealand - Christ Church, Dublin - Monument Valley, Arizona - Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico - Staffa, Scotland - Huamantla, Tlaxcala, Mexico - Costa Rica - Tule Tree, Oaxaca, Mexico - Fiesta, Mexico City - Making Lacquer, Olinalá, Mexico - Talavera Ceramics, Puebla, Mexico - Mata Ortiz Pottery, Mexico - Lebanon
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