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Northeast Arizona Sights

Third Mesa

  • AZ 264 Map It
  • Kykotsmovi
  • Town/Village

Updated 05/22/2014

Fodor's Review

Third Mesa villages are known for their agricultural accomplishments, textile weaving, wicker baskets, silver overlay, and plaques. You'll find crafts shops and art galleries, as well as occasional roadside vendors, along AZ 264. Visit the Hopi Tribal Headquarters in Kykotsmovi first for necessary permissions to visit the villages of Third Mesa.

At the eastern base of Third Mesa, Kykotsmovi, literally "ruins on the hills," is named for the sites on the valley floor and in the surrounding hills. Present-day Kykotsmovi was established by Hopi people from Oraibi—a few miles west—who either converted to Christianity or who wished to attend school and be educated. Kykotsmovi is the seat of the Hopi Tribal Government.

Old Oraibi, a few miles west and on top of Third Mesa at about 7,200 feet in elevation, is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States, dating from around AD 1150. It was also the site of a rare, bloodless conflict

between two groups of the Hopi people; in 1906, a dispute, settled uniquely by a "push of war" (a pushing contest), sent the losers off to establish the town of Hotevilla. Oraibi is a dusty spot and, as a courtesy, tourists are asked to park their cars outside and approach the village on foot.

Hotevilla and Bacavi are about 4 miles west of Oraibi, and their inhabitants are descended from the former residents of that village. The men of Hotevilla continue to plant crops and beautiful gardens along the mesa slopes.

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Sight Information


Cultural Preservation Office, AZ 264, Kykotsmovi, Arizona, 86039, United States

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Sight Details:

  • Mon.–Fri. 8:30–5

Updated 05/22/2014


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