In the field of archaeology, the visitor will wander the worldwide famous ruins of Monte Alban, only within a few distance from the capital city. The ancient city of Monte Alban was built on the top of a hill, and the visitor can admire the heritage of the Zapotec culture. The view of the central valleys results spectacular from the top of the hill. Archaeologists have found jewelry, mostly gold, in the ancient tombs at this site. Monte Alban was an urban city in which the trade, pottery, agriculture and religion were important activities. There is a museum where many items, such as pottery, jewels, stones, and history facts are on display. Mitla is in the same valley, only 30 minutes by car from the capital city. The word Mitla comes from the word Mictlan, which means land of the death. It was a ceremonial center. There are archaeological sites all over the state: in Zaachila, Tlacolula, Etla, Huatulco Bays.
The most extraordinary folkloric dancing event is the Guelaguetza, a word that means to share. The different regions within the state participate in this Fiesta. Beautiful women from the Istmo, the central valleys perform the dance of the feather, the region of Tuxtepec dance, with twenty women dancing in colorful dresses, El jarabe from the Mixtecs, the sensuality of women from the Coastal region, the wind bands playing alive on the top of El Fortin hill.
The religion heritage is something out of words. The magnificent Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman, the maximum expression of the Baroque style in Oaxaca City, with its golden altar, oil paintings, wooden sculptures, becomes the jewel of the heritage of Dominic monks in the state. There are many Dominic convents: in Cuilapam, in Teposcolula, in Etla, in Tlacochahuaya, In Cuicatlan, and in Ocotlan.
Handcrafts in Oaxaca represent the cosmogony of these artisan people and dates from many centuries ago. The shining black pottery from San Bartolo Coyotepec, the woven rugs from Teotitlan del Valle, The carved masks from the city, the typical clothing from Mitla, the Alebrijes from Arrazola, the black steel from Ocotlan, The green pottery from Atzompa, the wooden mushrooms from La Sierra, the clothing from the Istmo, the Triqui Huipiles, and many other items handmade by Indigenous people that can be found at markets and streets of every city.
Biodiversity is so complex that, in few miles, climate can be so different that is almost unbelievable; the central valleys have a semi desert climate with cactuses and low bushes. The sierra is mainly pine forest. The evergreen forest, where coffee is grown, is a tropical forest. The low jungle in the coast region is one of the most bio-diverse forests in Mexico. The jungle of Los Chimalapas is the place where jaguars and Quetzals can be found.
This is the richest state of Mexico talking about ethnic groups and autochthonous languages. The most important groups are: Zapotecas, Mixes, Triques, Chatinos, Huaves, Mazatecos, Nahuas, Chontales, Zoques and Cuicatecos.
Gastronomy in Oaxaca is an amazing range of typical dishes such as: Mole, Tlayudas, Tasajo, quesillo, chapulines, Tamales, bread of the dead, totopos, sea food, chacales, typical candies and beverages such as the spirit's releaser Mezcal. In fact there is a wide variety of mezcal and creams which are softer. In some villages, people add Maguey worms to it and some others add a scorpion in order to make it stronger in flavor and alcoholic degree. There are also hot chocolate drinks, the beverage of ancient gods, and Tejate, a beverage made of corn and cocoa and is served cold.
There are several natural attractions: Hierve el Agua, a place where huge petrified waterfalls can be admired in the Mixe region, only 2 hours by car from the capital city. Santiago Apoala, near the town of Nochixtlan, 50 minutes from Oaxaca City, where the visitor can hike around a waterfall of 60 meters high. The small river crosses the tiny town and then falls at the edge of a creek. There is also a canyon with more than 200 meters rock walls where rappelling and climbing are activities only for masters. A tourist yoo, or tourist hostel, provides a not expensive service of bed and breakfast.
The Copalitilla magic waterfalls are located in the coffee plantations region. Near Puerto Escondido we find other waterfalls called El Chorro in the community of La Reforma. The mangroves of the lagoon of Chacahua, where fishermen defend themselves furiously from crocodiles' attacks as well as fishing nets where shrimp is grown, is an amazing ecosystem full of life. In Huatulco bays the visitor can snorkel or scuba dive at the coral reefs of La Entrega and San Agustin beaches. In Zicatela beach, experienced surfers ride 12 meters high waves in summer; In San Sebastian there are deep caves; The Bufadora from Huatulco and the also called water volcano of San Felipe del Agua are few examples of the magnificent natural treasures but, there are many others that are waiting to be discovered.
The festivities in the state of Oaxaca have developed in colorful celebrations along the whole year; the festivities of the day of the dead, when people used to visit the local cemeteries, decorate tombs and set altars in home in order to remember the relatives who are dead. This prehispanic celebration says that the dead ones will return on November second to share meals and beverages with their relatives after crossing the bridge of the death. Another tasty celebration is the one called the Samaritans' day. People prepare delicious beverages and offer them for free to the ones who are just passing by. The Night of Raddish, on December 23rd in Oaxaca City, is an amazing display of creativity. Artisans create outstanding figures with this tuber. Visitors can see full rodeo arenas including the bulls, riders, public and the playing band. Also, virgins, altars, busts of important people, churches facades, animals, and an amazing collection of items, conceived and elaborated only by true magic hands. La Guelagetza party is the premium festivity in the state. Folkloric dances from all over the state are performed on the top of the Fortin hill in the capital city. It takes place on July Mondays. The festivity called Banni Stui Gulal, or repetition of the past, is the previous one to the major Guelaguetza. Las Calendas, where ethnic people walk around the towns and cities honoring saints and virgins, are parties in motion, always with a wind band playing aloud and giant dancers called Monos de Calenda. The legend of the princess Donaji, a Zapotec princess, is performed at night among lights, fires and music. Las Velas from the Isthmus region, with beautiful women dressed in colorful clothing and showing off heavy necklaces of gold.
The question is: Do you want to be surprised? Do you really want to be surprised? This short text is just like that; a short text which is far from the real wonders of the state. Come and be surprised as many tourists from all over the world who have taken deep inside a portion of this magical state.
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