June 10, 2012

monte albán

We were warned that Monte Alban would be unrelenting in its lack of shade. The guys in the group made sure to get straw hats to combat this. Turns out the sun was a late riser, and since we went in the morning we were able to escape the brunt of direct sunlight.


The view was very nice from the mountain - roughly 6000 ft above sea level (compared to Oaxaca's 4500). The Monte Alban site is actually on a leveled mountain top - and when I say leveled I mean that some 2000 years ago, the Zapotec people used their hands and rudimentary tools to physically make the mountain top flat.

vista 2

Most of the structures were located in this arena area, where pretty much each steppe structure had its own sacrificial square, which tells us that these structures served a religious purpose. Besides the upper and lower classes, there was the class of priests responsible for serving as an intermediary with the gods (mainly on matters relating to the weather). In gatherings, the arena would be filled with the 45,000 people that occupied this Mesoamerican city. And the priests could be heard from their platform because of the arena's impressive echo. Our tour guide demonstrated this by clapping/whistling while we were down on the arena grounds - there was definitely a surround sound type effect.


After the tour we had some time to wander around. It took us awhile to get down the stairs.

going down stairs

At the entrance to the site there's a museum, where artifacts dug up in/around the site are displayed. I brought my shark along and he looked at things, such as this ancient skeleton.

shark looks at skeleton

After the visit, our tour guide drove us to an artisanal village store, where many of us were able to buy jarros or comals or what have you. I had a good time looking around, but being as I only brought a backpack along, I won't be taking anything big like these things back!

artisanal goods

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