Today I got a chance to see sights around Oaxaca. I found a tour site on the Zocalo Plaza. They were offering two packages and I signed up for for 8 hours to visit:
- Monte Alban, archaelogical site
- Wood carvings, Arrazola
- Cuilapan, ex-monastery of Santiago Apostol
- Black pottery, Coyotepec
It was a nice trip and I was particularly impressed with Monte Alban.
Monte Alban sits several hundred meters above Oaxaca on mountain top. It was established by Zapotec’s around 500BC and occupied until about 750AD. It was a huge site with multiple temples and remains of buildings, fields and plazas.
Overall an interesting place to walk around. We had guided tour for an hour and then spent at least another hour wandering further ourselves.
After that to local artists area of wood carvings. Overall fairly elaborate.
Next generation of artists brushing up on their skills.
We had a nice buffet lunch and nearby restaurant including Oaxaca dishes such as seven types of mole.
The monastery and church was never quite completed, hence you see no roof on front section.
A key issue in this area are multiple fault lines which have caused earthquakes. A number of the columns had been rebuilt due to quakes and there was active reinforcing on that what remained.
Final stop was in Coyotepec where an artist performed a demonstration in matter of minutes on how he built a clay pot.
Drying and curing takes many days and gets done at particular dry times. So overall process might take a month, but he was able to show us quick creation of an initial clay pot.
Many of them for display and sale here as well.
Overall, tour was worthwhile and got a nice blend of tourist sites. The Monte Alban is high on my recommend list. The crafts places were interesting – though a chance to buy handicrafts, that I wasn’t in the market for. The monastery and church were also interesting.