Monte Alban…

November 17, 2010

About an hours ride out of Oaxaca stands Monte Alban, what was once the center of Zapotec culture.

This monumental hilltop functioned as the Zapotec’s center place and capital as they succeeded in conquering much of the Oaxaca area between AD 300 and 700.  Supposedly Monte Alban was the first “urban existence” of the Americas, run by a highly priest-dominated society.  Over the course of time, and for various reasons, the population of the Zapotecs dwindled down to 1,200 and the Mixtecs, another indigenous Mexican tribe, sought fit to take it over, before loosing it themselves to the Aztecs.  During the period of colonization, it took the Spaniards four expeditions (at least) before they succeeded in their own take over of Monte Alban.  Hence, it was in 1529 that the Spanish moved into the nearby city of Oaxaca and caused the number of indigenous population to drop drastically.

Today you can stroll throughout the grounds, clamoring up some of the structures and imagining what life must have been like back then.  Besides for the awe-inspiring dated structures, there are also 360 degree views of the valleys which splay out in all directions.  Our timing couldn’t have been better, as we were able to explore the area in the last few hours of daylight.  Of course our real wish was to explore the caverns and tombs that lay beneath all of the well-preserved structures.  Perhaps we will get our chance at some of the other ancient ruins we will explore throughout the Yucatan…


Archeologists have separated the structures into time periods and phases of building, with many areas still left unexplored...

The real question is, "Who cuts all that grass?"...

Yeah, yeah. Some ancient ruins. As pretty as it all was, we really wanted to take the tour of the rooms underneath these grassy hills...

As usual, the little bits of plant life growing out of the stones captured my attention for a bit...



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