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.