The third city where we spent some time in Mexico was Oaxaca, in the state of Oaxaca. After a bumpy overnight bus we checked into a hostel, slept for a few hours and then decided to do some sight seeing. The picture above is the view of Monte Alban from the North platform overlooking the whole site.
Monte Alban is an important archaeological site nearby Oaxaca. Unlike other Mayan sites that we’ve visited, like Tikal and Chichen Itza, Monte Alban is a Zapotec city and was first occupied around 500BC, making it one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica. Monte Alba was the center of a Zapotec state that dominated much of the territory that is part of the Oaxaca state today. The picture above shows the ball court where the traditional ball game was played.
After you walk past the Ball game court (a court that’s present in most archaeological sites), you enter the Gran (grand) Plaza that is surrounded by temples and residential quarters.
When Monte Alban was at its peak there lived 25 000 people on the site and the surrounding hills.
The height of the site made it an easily defensible location. The view over Oaxaca is spectacular:
We fooled around with the cactus plants on site:
The building in the centre behind Dirk is an arrow shaped observatory. This photo was taken from the South Platform:
There are some intricate stone carvings of aggressive looking people:
Not all the pyramids are excavated and restored:
We spent about two hours at Monte Alban. As you can see from the pictures there is not a lot of shade or places to sit and rest for a while.
Oaxaca is known for the Mezcal that is produced in the area. The plant below is a type of Agave of whic Mezcal is made from:
Dirk was getting tired…
Rain clouds gathered round while we were walking between the ruins. Our shuttle driver said that it usually rains after 4:30pm in Monte Alban.
There are many underground tombs around Monte Alban, but sadly none of them are open to visitors.