A quick tour of the Zapotec ruins, Monte Alban
“Many indigenous groups in Mexico accepted Spanish rule, accepted their God, went to their church, brought them gold, and practiced their way of living…on the outside. But inside their homes and communities, they continued to practice their own rituals and worship their own Gods. This is how they preserved their culture and identity and which is why it still exists today in Oaxaca and many regions throughout Mexico” (Paraphrased words from the audio guide at the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca)
One well preserved gem from the pre-Hispanic Zapotec era in Oaxaca is Monte Alban. Many people have heard of Chichen Itza, the mayan ruins near Cancun or Tikal in Guatemala but not too many put Monte Alban on their bucket list or Mexico travel itinerary. But they should! These ruins are really spectacular and extremely well preserved. It was the perfect afternoon excursion when my parents visited last week. They absolutely loved it. My dad even exclaimed at the end of our visit, “Now I don’t have to go to Machu Picchu!”
Take a look!
This civic and ceremonial site was occupied by the Zapotec people between 500 BC to 850 AD. Reasons for it’s abandonment are still unknown. It was excavated and explored by Alfonso Caso in 1931 through 1958 and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987. And in December 2014, the Pinces family roamed the site.
Reasons to visit: Are the pictures above not enough? Well in addition to the fact that Monte Alban is magnificent and a history buff’s paradise, it is also a quiet and peaceful place not overcrowded by tourists where you can roam at a leisurely pace and even enjoy a picnic under a tree right on site! It is also probably one of the easiest ruins to get to as it is just a 20 minute bus or cab ride from the city center. And lastly it is accessible to everyone, costing only 59 pesos ($4) to enter. This is just another reason why Oaxaca City is on the top of our list of best cities in the world. Not only does it have a vibrant, artsy, energetic city scene, but it also displays a love and appreciation for the people, places, and things from it’s long and complex history which is especially evident as you climb the many stairs of Monte Alban.
And we look forward to walking these stairs through history all over again with our buddy Rubyat who has come to visit us this week!
Here are some more fun pics from my parents’ visit for your enjoyment:
Next Stop: Guatemala!! Yes it’s true, we will actually be leaving Mexico, the first and only country we’ve visited so far on our “world tour”. Let us know if you have any suggestions of things to do and places to visit! Our plan right now is to get a place in San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan and immerse ourselves in Spanish classes. We’re feeling excited for a change of scenery and culture but also sad to be leaving the lovely country of Mexico, our home for the past 4 months. Onward!!