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Five Important Historical Sites to Visit in Arizona

1. Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Located in northeastern Arizona, to the east of Chinle, within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation, about 170 miles northeast of Flagstaff, this almost 84,000-acre park preserves ruins of many indigenous tribes that lived in the area, from the Puebloans (also known as the Anasazi) to the Navajo. This highly-visited national monument encompasses the floors and rims of three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. The name comes from the Spanish version of the Navajo word, Tseyi, which means inside the rock (or canyon). The land is entirely owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust of the Navajo Nation, with about 40 Navajo families living inside the park. The best ruins are located deep within the park, and only accessible via private Navajo-owned tour companies, but one trail to some ruins is open to the public: White House Ruin Trail (2.4-mile RT; moderate). A distinctive geological feature of the park is Spider Rock, a sandstone spire that rises 750 feet from the canyon floor. Drive the rim roads and stop at the numerous overlooks for scenic viewpoints. Learn more: Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

2. Casa Malpais Archaeological Park. Located in eastern Arizona near the border with New Mexico, just outside Springerville, about 175 miles southeast of Flagstaff, this National Historic Landmark is the site of the Ancient Pueblo People, built around 1260 AD, and includes an astronomical calendar, a great kiva, ancient stairways that lead to the top of the mesa (and amazing views), and rock art from the Mogollon culture. Both the Hopi and Zuni Indians consider it a sacred ancestral place. Casa Malpais (misinterpreted as the House of the Badlands; the name refers to the basalt rock, Malapi) was abandoned about 1400 AD and has been labeled the "Fissure Pueblo" because it is situated on an extensive basalt lava flow. The White Mountains lie to the south of the ruins. It is located on US Hwy 60. The Casa Malpais Museum, which houses artifacts from the excavation, is located on Main Street, in Springerville. While in the area, be sure and visit Lyman Lake State Park and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Learn more: Casa Malpais Archaeological Park.

3. Fort Huachuca. Located in southeastern Arizona, just west of Sierra Vista, about 70 miles southeast of Tucson, is part of a large (70,000-acre) active military base, and was established in the late 1800s as Camp Huachuca -- to help counter the Chiricahua Apache threat led by Geronimo and secure the border with Mexico (about 15 miles from the fort). Its historical interest is that from 1913 to 1933, the fort was the base for the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, which was composed of African Americans. Fort Huachuca was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and includes several notable buildings (Pershing House, Old Post Barracks, Leonard Wood Hall), as well as two museums (including a gift shop) spread across three buildings, with one museum (in the old post chapel) focusing on the Buffalo Soldiers and the Apache War, and the other on U.S. Army Intelligence (and even includes a section from the Berlin Wall). Its airfield was an alternative landing location for the space shuttle, though it was never utilized. Entrance is free, but all civilians must pass a criminal background check before being allowed into the base. Learn more: Fort Huachuca.

4. Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Located in northeast Arizona, in Ganado in the Navajo Nation, about 150 miles northeast of Flagstaff, it is the oldest continuously operated trading post on the Navajo Nation -- steeped in the history of the West, while continuing today as a living, thriving, active trading post. Established by John Lorenzo Hubbell in 1878, it is unique in bringing together the cultures of Native Americans (including Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and others), Spanish, and Anglo-Americans for decades. Sold to the National Park Service in the 1960s, the Western Parks Association has continued to operate it as a trading business -- for groceries, grain, hardware, horse tack, coffee, and Native American art. Besides the trading post, you can also visit the 160-acre Hubbell family homestead, including the house (which includes a collection of western and Native American art), barn, bunkhouse, and old farm equipment. Learn more: Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.

5. Old Oraibi. Located in northeast Arizona, just outside the town of Kykotsmovi in the Hopi Indian Reservation, about 100 miles northeast of Flagstaff, this village (called Orayvi by its in habitants) is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the U.S., first established around 1000 AD. Because of its isolation, perched high atop Third Mesa, the residents still lead very simple lives similar to their ancestors. Visitors are welcome, but photographing is not allowed. Be sure to search out the remains of Mission San Francisco, which operated for 50 years, from 1629 until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Oraibi is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Find the village by taking a short road from Arizona State Route 264.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.

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