Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Wonders near Oaxaca

Monday

After Villahermosa, we made our way north and west to the center of México, where you can find the remains of other ancient civilizations such as Zapotecs, Teotihuacans, and Aztecs (Mexicans). Our first ruins visit there was to Monté Alban near the city of Oaxaca. It was interesting, with the majority of the plazas laid out in a cardinal grid (unlike the Mayas who seem to lay their cities out haphazardly—probably in accordance with astronomical observations).

DSC05023 The one exception to their north-south-east-west grid, was this building, which is assumed to be a sort of astronomical observatory.

The most interesting thing to me was the carvings. In any large rock that composed a building surface, they put a carving or design on it. Besides all the other difference that were obvious from the Mayans, the use of the canvas of the stone was different. Instead of trying to fill the entire space with runes or drawings, the Zapotecs left lots of empty spaces, focusing on a single figure.

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Apparently, the inhabitants of Monté Alban were also obsessed with creating tunnels to connect buildings and such. Unfortunately, we never got to see them.

Next on the list was Mitla. I wasn’t expecting much for this one, but it turned out to be one of my favorites. It really is a crying shame that the Catholic Church disassembled quite a few of the buildings to build their own church. The design work was beautiful.

DSC05047 One of the courtyards was used as of the base for the church, then rock was removed from other buildings to build the church up. You can see the church in this picture.

DSC05053 In some areas you can still the remnants of the “plaster” and drawings they had over the doors.

DSC05061I was inspired by the decor; I wouldn’t mind decorating like that. 

On our way to find our next campground, we stopped in Santa María del Tule where there was a large, 2000-year-old Montezuma Cypress. It was quite impressive, and the birds loved to sit in its branches and tweet.

DSC05083 It is over 40 meters (130 feet) tall.

DSC05081 Its trunk’s circumference is around 54 meters (178 feet), making it one of the broadest tree trunks in the world.

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