Oaxaca Sights

Mitla

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 09/01/2015

Fodor's Review

Mitla, 46 km (27 miles) southeast of Oaxaca, expanded and grew in influence as Monte Albán declined. Like its predecessor, Mitla is a complex started by the Zapotec and later taken over by the Mixtec. Unlike Monte Albán, Mitla's attraction lies not in its massive scale, but in its unusual ornamentation; the stonework depicts mesmerizing abstract designs with a powerful harmony. The striking architecture, which dates as late as the 1500s, is almost without equal within Mexico thanks to the exquisite greca workmanship on the fine local volcanic stone, which ranges in hue from pink to yellow.

The first structure you enter is the Grupo del Norte, where the Spanish settlers built Mitla's Catholic cathedral literally on top of the Zapotec structure, integrating the foundation. It's comparable to having the history of Oaxaca laid out before you in one building—truly remarkable. Mitla's name comes from the Nahuatl word mictlan, meaning "place of the dead." Don't expect to see

anything resembling a graveyard, however; the Zapotec and Mixtec typically buried their dead under the entrance to the structure where the deceased resided.

There are a few underground tombs in the impressive Grupo de las Columnas (Group of the Columns), the main section of the ruins that are fun to climb down into. In that group is also the palace that forms the most striking architectural achievement of Mitla.

Read More

Sight Information

Address:

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Website: www.inah.gob.mx

Sight Details:

  • MX$47
  • Daily 8–5

Published 09/01/2015

Advertisement

What's Nearby

  • Sights
  • Hotels

See all sights in Oaxaca

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?

Experience

Ease

Value

Don't Miss

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.