Thursday, May 22, 2008

Missing Monte Alban

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

In the excitement of the escape from San Cristobal and the mammoth dash across the Yucatán Peninsula, I forgot to tell you about my first encounter with Mexican ruins, at Monte Albán. These ruins, located not far from Oaxaca, are of a Zapotec settlement, as opposed to the more famous Mayan ruins of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Zapotec civilization pre-dates the Mayans, and Monte Alban is considered historically the first major city in the Western Hemisphere. It was founded in 500 BC, rose to dominance some time after 200 BC, and didn't lose its regional pre-eminence until the end of the Late Classic Era (500-700AD - as you all know !).

As (hopefully) you can see from my photos, it's a spectaular place to visit; as is often the case, best to get there early to avoid tour busses full of ageing and spreading Americans, and the Mexican sun.

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