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  • Oaxaca image1

    The state of Oaxaca is located in the southeast part of Mexico. It is bordered to the north by Puebla and Veracruz, to the east by Chiapas and to the west by Guerrero. The name of the state, comes from the náhuatl "Huaxyacac" that means "In the Nose of the Guajes." Oaxaca's surface covers 95,364 kilometers and is considered the fifth largest state of the country in term of size, and has nearly 3.3 million inhabitants.

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    Oaxaca is one of the most diverse states of Mexico. It has a wide variety of landscapes - beautiful beaches, forest, high summits and extensive valleys - as well as an impressive cultural mixture. More than fourteen different ethnic groups and cultures, including Zapotecs and Mixtecs, compose Oaxaca's cultural diversity. Oaxaca's customs and Pre-Columbian past have passed on from generation to generation and you can find them manifested in the culture and gastronomy of the state. In Oaxaca you can enjoy delicious dishes such as the "Seven Moles," the "Quesillo," the "Chocolate-Atole," the "Café de Olla," among many other dishes.

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    During the colonial time, Oaxaca occupied an important place inside the organization of the "New Spain" thanks to its trade and to different religious associations that settled down in this part of Mexico. As an example, the "Dominicos" built imposing temples in this area like the "Temple of Santo Domingo" in order to christen the native people of Oaxaca.

    Today Oaxaca offers tourist and cultural attractions besides it's worldwide famous hand-made crafts, gastronomy, and regional parties.

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  • Monte Alban

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    The archaeological site of Monte Alban is located in the northeast part of the Valley of Oaxaca and is cradled by the hills Monte Alban, The Rooster and Atzompa. Tha Zapotecs built Monte Alban as the capital city of their empire. According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History, "it was the most important Pre-Columbian city in the Southeast of Mexico, since it lead the political, social and economic life of the region of Oaxaca through a complicated tributary system based on a religious domain and a powerful army."

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    Monte Alban was founded around the year 700 B.C. and quickly became an important religious and cultural center. As an example, inside the "Monument of the Dancers" was found one of the first writing samples of the region. Some archeologists suggest that by the year 200 B.C. this city had a population of about 30,000.

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    It is believed that the biggest development in the city took place between the years 250 and 750 A.D. once the city was finished and, with the collapse of Teotihuacan, the Zapotec government system was strengthened. Around the year 750 A.D. the population started to abandon the city because of the ecological depletion caused in the area, and the high taxes that the Zapotec government requested.

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    The decline of the Zapotec culture was followed by the appearance of the Mixtec Culture. This culture also considered Monte Alban a sacred city. They used Monte Alban as a religious city and this is shown in the "Tomb 7" discovered by Mr. Alfonso Caso on January 9, 1932. In this tomb, Mr. Caso found offerings to the Mixtecs' gods and priests, and today these are considered the "Treasure of Monte Alban." The archaeological studies of the area divide the history of Monte Alban in five phases:

    1. Foundation 500-200 B.C.
    2. Period Pre-classic 100 B.C. -100 A.D.
    3. Classic period 200-800 A.D.
    4. Period Post-classic 900-1200 A.D.
    5. Period of decline 1300-1600 A.D.

    Since 1987 UNESCO has considered the archaeological site of Monte Alban "Patrimony of the Humanity." Also, in 1993, the President of Mexico declared it as an "Archaeological Monument", for what receives recognition and protection at both, national and international levels.

 

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