Monte Alban, a high point
Trip Start May 21, 2008
13Trip End Jun 13, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Yesterday, Nancy was feeling well enough to want to go to Monte Alban, the Zapotec/Mixtec archeological site perched on a mountaintop above the modern city of Oaxaca. This was the first city in North America, begun around 300 BC and reaching its peak (pardon the pun) under the Zapotecs around 600 AD. It was a relief that we finally were able to go, because this ancient site certainly is a high point (pardon another one) of any visit to Oaxaca.
We took a tourist bus from one of the hotels in town and arrived just before noon, stopping in at the museum on site before venturing around the extensive site itself. A couple of personal highlights of the museum were small ceramic figures in cross-legged poses and the reconstruction of a burial of a woman from around the year zero. It piqued my wonder at the life of someone from so long ago in a region of the world that still is revealing its details
The complex inspired wonder at the origin of the idea to shave the top off a mountain and then building this sprawling assembly of buildings, the engineering to put the idea into practical form, the social organization to build it and the symbolism that imbues it with wonder.
The ball court and the central courtyard, with its water-collection system, were most memorable to me.
As we were wandering around the site, marveling at buildings and carved stelae, an eagle continuously circled overhead.
Impressive views over the modern city and the surrounding valley.