This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monte Alban and the Zapotecs

A bario on the way out of Oaxaca city

The second day we were in Oaxaca City we took a shuttle from the Hotel opposite to Monte Alban, the Zapotec centre which dominated Oaxaca from 500 BC through the early classic period up to 500 AD and in gradual decline all the way through to 1000 AD. It is a magnificent hill site with similarities to Machu Picchu, both in its hill-top dominance of the surrounding area, and its focus on the sun and its solstices.

Panorama of Oaxaca city and surrounds from Monte Alban

The site has commanding views of Oaxaca city and its surrounds and the entire central valley.

Panorama of Monte Alban from the north-east (click to enlarge)

Panorama from the south platform -Wikipedia (click to enlarge)

Sunday, the day we arrived is free for Mexicans, but foreigners are supposed to pay 51 pesos each. When we tried to but a ticket the guy claimed he didn't have any cambio (change). This has been a recurring scam throughout Central America calculated t have to make you pay everything you have for whatever you are trying to purchase, so I jumped up and down and said so and remarkabley after finding they really didn't have any change to give three of us, they graciously waved us through for free just like all the other Mexican tourists.

Panorama of the north platform

Stela 9 in front of the north platform with detailed representations of the deities.

A description of stela 9 (click to enlarge).

Stone for measuring the equinox

Frieze with explanation of the contents below

Text of the frieze (click to enlarge)

The entire site was much richer than when I visited in the 1980s, both because there was a frieze and plinth with detailed representation of the Zapotec deities and mythological episodes, and because they have established a museum with many beautiful and intriguing fine artifacts from the site which give a much completer view of Zapotec culture and world view.

Caved stones depicting the gods of the Zapotecs in the museum

Terracotta figurines of deities and power animals

Treasures from tomb seven housed elsewhere

Pottery from the site

Skeletons with jewelry some with fractured skulls

Skull with clear evidence of trepanning

Stele depicting relationships of mythological characters

Barios on the periphery of Oaxaca city on the return journey

No comments:

Post a Comment