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Places to Visit    Attractions

attraction oaxaca

Main Plaza-Zocalo

This is the traditional central plaza of the city, surrounded by grand, historic buildings, from where the rest of the streets of the city radiate out. Closed off to traffic its pedestrian walkways and cafes are places to watch the world go by under the shade of large Indian Laurel trees. -- Music performances every evening and a "Sunday at Noon" concert with the 70-piece Oaxacan State brass band. The center of parades and festivities it is also where most people meet up even if they are on their way somewhere else.

attraction oaxaca

Cathedral

Begun in the middle of the 16th century, this grand structure fills the north margin of the zocalo. Having undergone several constructive stages, the main facade is an early 18th century baroque work of art. It has 3 doors that lead into 3 naves with a central choir loft and a beautiful historic organ. There are also several side chapels, including one dedicated to the Lord of Lightning (El Senor del Rayo), a major local deity.

attraction oaxaca

Government Palace

From the first colonial settlement this was the site of the administrative offices for affairs of the province. Replaced by larger structures or because of earthquake damage, the present building dates from the early 1940s. It fronts the zocalo and still houses the State's administration and offices of the governor. 2 murals by the renowned artist Arturo Garcia Bustos decorate the central and east stairways.

attraction oaxaca

Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art

A private collection that the world renowned artist left to his home town. Housed in a beautiful 18th century colonial home which was renovated to exhibit the collection and decorated in colors chosen by the artist himself, there are over 1,000 pieces exhibited in the fabulous collection ranging from ancient Mesoamerica to Spanish contact, demonstrating the inspiration of his own iconography in the world of his paintings. Entrance fee $30 pesos. Wed-Mon, 10am-2pm and 4pm-7pm, Sun, 10am-3pm

attraction oaxaca

Museum of Oaxacan Cultures

Located in the old Dominican convent next to the church of Santo Domingo dating back to later 16th century, it houses the best collection to appreciate the ancient, colonial, ethnic and contemporary history of this area. Many exhibits displaying objects from stone-age hunters and gatherers, the first agricultural plants, early ceramics, the great treasures of Monte Alban, traveling exhibits and the astounding Francisco Burgoa Library of over 23,000 books. Entrance fee $38 pesos. Wed-Mon 10am-8pm

attraction oaxaca

Basilica of the Virgin of Solitude

One of the city's most elegant architectural works from the later part of the 17th century. It has a facade that is completely hand-carved in stone with a panoramic main dedication. Finished in 1689, facing east and the rising sun today it is still where the faithful come to offer their devotions before an image of the Virgin dressed in velvet clothes embroidered with gold and silver leaf, wearing a crown of diamonds and rubies.

attraction oaxaca

Oaxacan Painters Museum

This museum honors the prestigious painters that Oaxaca has had and has today. Many of great worth are represented, but 3 maestros, also great philanthropists, come to mind; from the past Rufino Tamayo, and from the present, Rodolfo Morales (recently deceased) and Francisco Toledo, all of whom have labored tremendously to preserve and develop Oaxacan culture. Entrance fee ??$ pesos. Wed-Mon 10am-2pm and 4pm-7pm, Sun 10am-3pm

attraction oaxaca

Museum of Contemporary Art

Since 1992, with the help of the painter Francisco Toledo, shows contemporary art of Oaxaca. More than 3 exhibits at one time. Art classes, art book store, cafe. The building is a beautiful 18th century home with stone carved coat of arms and fragments of colonial murals that once decorated interior walls. Offers art classes. Entrance fee $10 pesos, Sun free. Wed-Mon 10:30am-8pm

attraction oaxaca

Photography Museum "Manuel Alvarez Bravo"

This is a small private museum run by the staff of Maestro Francisco Toledo containing Mexican and foreign photography, a music section with headphones and literature, and a brail library. The colonial building was entirely restored by the Maestro, containing his personal selection of architectural features and exotic plants. Free entrance, Wed-Mon 10am-8pm 0

attraction oaxaca

Stamp Museum

The most extensive stamp collection in Latin America, including the first English (1840) and the first Mexican (1856). Good number of Oaxacan issues and also of world stamps. Postal service collecting mail, store that sells stamps, post cards and other philately collectibles, Workshops, traveling exhibits and educational activities. Free entrance. Tue-Sun 9am-7pm

attraction oaxaca

Church of Santo Domingo

The most beautiful church in the city, among the nicest in the country. Dating from 1570. The front faces west for the altar to catch the sun as it streams through the choir window during late afternoon mass. Inside, the entire ceiling is decorated in an elegant stucco baroque The main altar is a spectacular wooden structure bathed in gold leaf. Free entrance. Mon-Sun 7am-1pm and 5pm - 8pm

attraction oaxaca

Benito Juarez's House

This was the home of Antonio Salanueva who gave work, as a servant and then apprentice to the young Zapotec Indian Benito as he first arrived to the city at the age of 12. The man taught him Spanish, then how to read and write and later sent him to school. Benito became an honors student, Mayor of the City, Senator for Oaxaca, judge of the Supreme Court of the Nation and, in 1860, the one and only President of Mexico with indigenous roots. Displaying furniture from the original house and personal belongings of Juarez's. Entrance fee $30 pesos. Tue-Sun 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-6pm

attraction oaxaca

Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden

This garden exhibits a collection of living plants, an extensive collections of cactaceae and agaves, as an example of Oaxaca’s rich biodiversity, identified and documented to create appreciation as well as to learn about the many uses that these plants have and spread that knowledge to all the native communities and schools of Oaxaca. Library. Free entrance. Staff led tours only, in English Tue and Thur at 11am and 4pm, Sat at 4pm. Sign up in advance.

attraction oaxaca

Graphic Arts Institute of Oaxaca

Displays traveling exhibits. Most complete art library in all of Oaxaca, thousands of books and growing. Store that sells all the paper sheets, booklets, folders and products that come from the Maestro Francisco Toledo's, natural paper factory that he has set up in the nearby village of San Agustin, Etla. All the revenues go towards buying books for village libraries, prisons and other charitable works that the Maestro leads. Free entrance. Museum: Mon-Sun 9:30am-8pm. Library: 9am-9:30pm

Etla Valley

attraction oaxaca

Monte Alban Archaeological site

Spectacular ridge-top ancient (500 bce) city, peak population- over 30,000. Discovered in 1806. Excavated from 1931. In 1949 an amazing treasure of gold and precious stones was found in tomb 7. Such a large settlement, only part of it all has been formally dug out, restored and opened to visits. Museum. Entrance fee $38 pesos. Daily 8am-6pm

attraction oaxaca

Santa Maria Atzompa

Among the oldest ceramic communities in the valley of Oaxaca. The town lies below one of the ridges that belongs to the archaeological site of Monte Alban. There is a great pottery tradition in this village as it has had and still has today very famous potters that have international recognition. -- Over 100 families that make green domestic pottery, fine terracotta dolls, religious images and artistic figures in general and colored pottery. Home studios, central potters co-operative, exhibits. Free entrance. Daily 8am-8pm.

attraction oaxaca

San Jose El Mogote

One of the oldest archaeological sites in the valley of Oaxaca, conveniently located near the city. Since 1150 bce, a continual agricultural centre and breadbasket of Zapotecs for many centuries. There are a few mounds that have been restored and can be visited as well as a community museum which exhibits some of the main objects found in all the digs. Entrance fee $10 pesos. Daily 10am-6pm

attraction oaxaca

Arte Papel-San Agustin, Etla

Maestro Francisco Toledo adapted old water-pipes and a power plant to make this paper workshop, where we turn tree bark, plant fiber, natural colored cotton and other natural dyes into first class paper products. Tour paper-making area as well as the book-binding section to learn and appreciate the craftwork that goes into making these fine products. Gallery. Free entrance. Daily 9am-3pm

Zimatlan-Ocotlan Valley

attraction oaxaca

San Antonio Arrazola

Picturesque village known for wood carving of colorful, whimsical creatures. There are numerous family studios to choose from depending on individual interests, some have been featured in Smithsonian, National Geographic and Travel and Leisure. Free entrance. Daily 9am-7pm

attraction oaxaca

Cuilapan de Guerrero-Ex convent Near the city, one of the most beautiful and original buildings constructed by the Dominicans. Built above a large pre-Columbian foundation of materials recycled from those ancient ruins. Most spectacular feature is the minor basilica. Marvelous interior mural fragments. Entrance fee $24 pesos. Daily 10am-5pm

attractions oaxaca

Zaachila Archaeological site

This is a small dig in the middle of the modern town of Zaachila. Of the tombs excavated one stands out as there were beautiful gold treasures discovered among many other fine jewels. (Every Thursday there is a market day around the main streets of the town and also within walking distance is the animal section where livestock are sold, which is fun and picturesque to visit.) Entrance fee $24 pesos. Daily 8am-5pm

attraction oaxaca

Ocotlan de Morelos

This is the largest town in the southern valley and was once the home of Maestro Rodolfo Morales, the great painter, who restored the 16th century convent and church, and initiated a computer center in his home that offers free lessons to school children. Worth visiting are; his home to see a collection of his art work, the convent where he displays a small folk art and colonial exhibition, and the town hall where the Maestro painted an outstanding mural. -- Also worth visiting are the home-studios of fine cutlery knifes by the Aguilar Brothers who recycle car springs and railroad tracks to make blades and water faucets, using bone and wood for handles, made in such an artistic manner that they have become very famous. Clay is also crafted in Ocotlan by the renowned Aguilar Sisters (not related), who make colorful and whimsical clay representations of everyday scenes, flower vendors, skeletons, nativity sets and some of the most finely decorated pottery in Oaxaca. -- Every Friday is market day around the main streets of the town. -- Entrance fee to Convent $10 pesos. Daily 10am-6pm

attraction oaxaca

San Antonino Castillo Velasco

This is a pretty village is a very traditional place were special celebrations take place on festive days for Day of the Dead, Christmas and Easter. This is also where the most beautifully embroidered dresses of Oaxaca are made, embroidery of silk over cotton in such detail that some take over 4 months to complete. This is also were special flowers grow that blossom dry, similar to "straw flowers" used in the famous Radish festival every December 23rd in the city. It’s nice to visit home studios were these beautiful crafts are made to meet the makers and see their way of life.

attraction oaxaca

Santo Tomas Jalieza

Small, pretty village that has a tradition of making cotton products on waist or back-strap looms with straps wrapped around the backs of the artisans while the loom rests on their laps to facilitate threading work. There are table place mats, runners, napkins and other table supplies, vests, belts, back packs, purses and more. Central co-operative where most weavers work, especially on Fridays.

attraction oaxaca

San Martin Tilcajete

This is another of the villages that is well known for making the colorful Alebrije wood carvings. Picturesque, easy to walk around with very friendly people. Many well-known carvers to visit and many opportunities to shp for fine folk art direct from the artist. Special Fat Tuesday celebration.

attraction oaxaca

San Bartolo Coyotepec

This village is the home of the famous black Oaxacan pottery, with over 100 families making of this wonderful ceramic. Museum of Folk Art exhibits work from many different villages to encourage the continuity of the production, honoring the makers while still alive. It is nice to visit family home studios to see the making process, kilns and finished work to make the visit more memorable.

attraction oaxaca

Tlapanochestli Cochineal Farm

Involved in the study, production, research, teaching, experimenting involved with the "Grana Cochinilla", an insect that feeds on prickly pear cacti, producing a dye, carmine red, that has been used for 1,700 years for textiles, feathers, paper, and colonial murals and today for food coloring and cosmetics. Spaniards built an industry out of it whose wealth was surpassed only by gold and silver. Entrance fee $10 pesos. Daily 9:30am-5pm

Tlacolula Valley

attraction oaxaca

The Tule Tree

This is a spectacular wonder of the natural world. The thickest tree on earth, a swamp cypress with over 2,000 years of age. Found in all record books. Definitely worth seeing. Entrance fee $3 pesos. Daily 8am-8pm

attraction oaxaca

Church of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya

The church with the most complete original murals from late 16th and early 17th centuries, presented to the Indian masses in beautiful colors and painted with natural dyes such as the “Grana Cochinilla”. There are also complete wooden altars with paintings preserved. Concerts are given on the beautifully restored organ during the historic organ festival every fall. See www.iohio.org. Entrance fee $5 pesos. Daily 10am-2pm and 4pm - 6pm

attraction oaxaca

Dainzu Archaeological site

Small, historically important archaeological site, excavated in 1965. The city was occupied uninterruptedly from 750 bce to 1000 ce. There are numerous stone carvings that show ball players in action with balls in their hands and dressed in fine outfits. Also of interest there is a well preserved ball court and plazas to visit. Entrance fee $24 pesos. Daily 8am-5pm

attraction oaxaca

Teotitlan del Valle

Possibly the prettiest village in this east side of the valley. There is a remarkable church with authentic art subjects from the XVI century. The church is built over an earlier pre-Columbian structure and stone from that ancient construction were used to decorate the walls of the courtyard as well as of the parish house next to the church. -- The village has also proudly made a community museum that exhibits some of the large sized stone carvings from their ancient city as well as early looms, wheels and instruments used to manufacture the fine rugs that the village is most famous for. --There are fine woven rugs made in this village and numerous families dedicated to that production. Some are better known than others and it is nice to visit family home studios to see the process of how they are made as some still use the old fashion techniques of carting their own wool, spinning it, dying it with natural colors and finally weaving on fine solid wooden loom structures. -- Entrance fee to the Community Museum $10 pesos. Daily 10am-6pm

attraction oaxaca

Lambytieco Archaeological site

A small (but over 120 acres at one time), outstanding site with fantastic recent findings. The site is far older, but 2 homes from 640-755bce are of greatest importance. 1 is located above and in the back of the largest platform and looking down from above we can see the entrance layout of the entire household, the entry of the family tomb and their portraits, with names of the occupants of the house who are also buried in the tomb. The second belonged to another part of the ruling family, in it can be seen large sized masks of the Zapotec Lord of rain and thunder "Pitao Cocijo". Entrance fee $24 pesos. Daily 8am-5pm

attractions oaxaca

Yagul Archaeological site

A larger site and in a great setting, surrounded by a wild cacti garden and situated on top of a ridge, overlooking the valley of Tlacolula. The site had 2 constructive eras, so the old city is visibly divided into 2 sections; the lower area with a ball court, plazas and tombs, and the higher area with the palace of 6 patios. There is a trail that leads to a higher section called the look-out point, where a tomb can be visited as well as a great view can be seen of all the surroundings. Entrance fee $30 pesos. Daily 8am-5pm

attraction oaxaca

Mitla Archaeological site

The best-preserved, most ornate site in the valley. The building used independently carved stone mosaics, interlocking them into the walls like a jig saw puzzle without any mortar in between, painted in beautiful colors. Ancient murals from the Mixtec occupancy. The main building is a grand palace with a large patio in front that was used for ceremonial events and near is another patio that has two excavated tombs that can be entered. Entrance fee $30 pesos. Daily 8am-5pm

attractions oaxaca

Xaaga

A small village near Mitla that has authentic remains of a pre-Columbian set of buildings from the same time as Mitla, possibly from the same extended lineages that governed the valley at that time. A set of petroglyphs, over 10,000 years old, painted over large rocks on the hill side can be seen after an easy hike.

attraction oaxaca

Hierve el Agua

These natural water falls were calcified over time to leave us a spectacular natural phenomenon, located above the Mitla valley on a hilltop village called San Lorenzo Albarradas. An amazing natural wonder requiring good walking conditions. Natural springs that feed into large natural rock pools where swimming is possible, surrounded by a unique landscape, with the sensation of 'floating on top of the world". More hiking. Entrance fee $20 pesos. Daily 9am-6pm

attraction oaxaca

Santiago Matatlan

This village near Mitla is the world capital of Mezcal, where most of that liquor is made. On the short drive you can see fields and fields of agaves growing for that purpose. In the village it is possible to visit family run stills to see old=fashioned techniques for making this traditional strong liquor. Tastings!

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