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Monte Alban Travel Information

Monte Alban Ruins

Monte Alban archaeological site is an impressive legacy of the Zapotec culture and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Lying a few kilometers away from the City of Oaxaca, Monte Albán was strategically built on top of a hill and served as a ceremonial center. Its history dates back to the year 300 A.D. and was considered one of the major cities in Mesoamerica.

Due to its location, this culture came to dominate a wide expanse along the surrounding valleys and territories. It is believed that their domination comprised big extensions in the Oaxaca region. This culture worshiped the god Coqui Xee and honored this bat´s cult, probably because of the influence from the Guatemalan civilizations.

Its constructions had a huge impact on the Teotihuacan culture, especially on the façades layouts. Some of these imposing buildings can be visited at present, such as the Great Square, the Northern Platform and the Dancers´ Temple. The amazing view over the Oaxaca Valley explains why these buildings are here.

The archeological reserve opens everyday from 8am to 5pm. The main access is a paved road from the City of Oaxaca. The place also offers food and drink services and a crafts market.

Monte Alban Tours coming soon!

Main Attractions

The Great Square

Located on top of the mountain, the ceremonial center is arranged from this area on. It served as a bartering market for all kinds of products. Its huge dimensions, 300 x 200 meters, show its prominent role in this city. It resembles the Greek tradition of building around a big square.

The Dancers´ Temple

This building owes its name to the fact that it is surrounded by rocks carved in bas-reliefs, representing human shapes apparently engaged in some sort of dance. It is thought that these characters represented the defeated in battle. This was one of the first city squares.

The Ball Game

The Ball Game in pre-Columbian civilizations constituted a sacred ceremony related to fertility. Two teams would compete along a gigantic course featuring two rings raised three meters above the ground and the ball could only be touched with knees and elbows. The winning team received all the honors and was then sacrificed, yes, sacrificed, while the losing team members would become slaves. On the left side of the huge square, stands a sacrifice altar and a big sculpture of a grasshopper.

The Palace

This construction consists of two main sections with a central staircase. On the top are rooms which are arranged around a central courtyard.

The Northern Platform

This is one of the most important buildings in the whole ceremonial center. It joins the Temple with the priest´s residence. A 20-m high staircase from the Great Square is the main access. Upon arrival at the platform and across the double-pillared gallery, comes a low-lying patio which contains a sacrificial altar.

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