Monasterio Y Templo De La Recolección was built in the early 1700s and severely damaged by several earthquakes since it’s construction. It costs international tourists $5 (40 Quetzales) to enter the grounds and will take most people about an hour to walk around the grounds. Students receive a discount and will only need to pay 20 Quetzales or roughly $2.50 USD. The ruins are located very close to the bus station in town and not much farther away from the main market as well.
It feels a bit odd walking around the ruins as there are several tons of rubble and masonry still lying around in the church. Somehow it seems like the earthquake could have destroyed the church just days ago even though it has been several years. I would recommend visiting La Recoleccion ruins for this odd feeling alone.
Only three blocks from where I currently reside are the ruins of the Santa Clara Church and Convent. The entrance fee is 40 Quetzales for foreign visitors and slightly less for students. The original temple and convent was built in 1705. This version was completed in 1734 but has been damaged severely by earthquakes since its construction. The grounds are pleasant to walk around and to imagine what it must have been like to live here in the past. Particularly impressive are the arches surrounding the central courtyard and fountain. The ruins are located at the corner of 6th Street East and 2nd Avenue South, only three blocks from Parque Central. Be sure to watch the video slideshow at the bottom of the page to see more of the ruins.
This ruin is only a few blocks away from where I am living. I saw it the first week I was in Antigua and I was immediately drawn to it. San Jose el Viejo is now a Spanish school. When I see this place I can’t help but think of my grandfather. He worked for decades at a brickyard. I wonder if any of those bricks made it into a building like San Jose el Viejo.
After the church was originally constructed Phillip V ordered it closed. Later the church was allowed to reopen with royal permission. San Jose el Viejo was severely damaged by a major earthquake in 1773 but has been restored. The ruins are located on 5th Avenue South and 8th Street West. Today the ruins are used for special events such as weddings and graduations.
Shortly after my visit to the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban I visited what was the religious center of the Zapotecs, the archaelogical site of Mitla. While Monte Alban is placed in a dramatic setting, Mitla is comparatively understated. It was built more for the comfort of the residents than for grandeur. The site is on the valley floor. It was built as a gateway between the land of the living and the land of the dead. The Zapotec word for the site means “place of rest.”
What makes Mitla different from all other ruins in the area are the grecas or intricate mosaic fretworks. The grecas are made from thousands of cut and polished stones. The stones are held in place by the weight of the other stones. The precise placement of the stones result in the repeated geometric designs seen throughout the site. Continue reading →
panoramic view of Monte Alban ruins from North Platform
view from the North Platform
another view from the North Platform
Monte Alban is an archaelogical site founded by the Zapotecs around 500 B.C. The ruins are on an artificially leveled mountain ridge located just 6 miles outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. Although the ruins are impressive, the location of the site is also quite dramatic. Looking around it is easy to see why the site was chosen to build the city from just a military or defensive standpoint.
Walking through Teotihuacan is an impressive experience, but one can only imagine what it was like over a thousand years ago. The sheer magnitude of the pyramids is awesome, but the use of mathematics and astronomy in the planning is also quite fascinating. Many people associate the pyramids with the Aztecs, but they were actually built before the arrival of the Aztecs and abandoned by their creators. How could you leave something so magnificent? Then again, every empire eventually crumbles.