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San Pablo Villa de Mitla English


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Nestled in the area of Oaxaca known as Valles Centrales (Central Valleys) is this Magical Town where the spirit of its ancient inhabitants is still felt in the ancient Zapotec city; its ceremonial center shares part of its place of worship with the Iglesia de San Pablo Apóstol (church).

Downtown is an open-air market, its wares the products of the peoples’ work: textiles and mescal. And, there are also the mineral waters that give off orangey glimmers and have created petrified waterfalls.

Figure out how much time you have to live on the Columna de la Vida (Column of Life) in the archeological site.

Enjoy locally made mescal.

Take home hand-loomed clothing.

Admire the geometric designs of the fretwork in the archeological sites.

Mitla Archeological Site and the Columna de la Vida

Ciudad de los Muertos (City of the Dead) is what the name of this archeological site means in the Náhuatl language. The precision of the fretwork that embellishes its walls has made it one of Oaxaca’s signature artistic motifs.

And for good reason–it is incredible how the ancient Mixtec and Zapotec people fitted stone into these geometric designs that wrap their buildings. The architectural skill of the indigenous population is also visible in their fort, built with enormous stone blocks to protect themselves from raiding enemies.

One spot that you have to see in this old city is Palacio Mitla. The palace’s high walls are completely adorned with intricate geometric motifs–the indigenous form of baroque pre-dating the arrival of the Europeans.

Before leaving this ancient Zapotec city, search out the so-called column of life and see how much more time you’ve got left to live. Or, if you are visiting with your partner, take a seat on the sitting rock to ensure your marriage.

Conoce el Templo
de San Pablo Apóstol

The town’s church was erected in the 16th century on top of a pyramid dedicated to worshipping the sun. Its solid profile in the New Spain style, atrium, and chapels are interconnected with the elegant buildings at the pre-Hispanic ceremonial center.

Recorre el mercado
de artesanías

At the Handicraft Market you will discover textiles that duplicate the fretwork and other designs found in the Mitla archeological site. You can also shop for artisanal mescal made in palenques around the town.

Hike and Swim in Hierve El Agua

This stunning spot on the top of a mountain has natural pools, petrified waterfalls, and views of the valley below.

The series of stone waterfalls is characterized by their white color and for stretching more than 656 feet high. They were formed over millions of years by flows of water with a high mineral content that came from springs at the top of the ravine.

These springs are a wonder in and of themselves: they form pools of warm, turquoise-colored water used as natural swimming holes. If you are filled with energy, hike down to admire the enormous falls from another angle. It is about a mile hike, but the view and pictures you will get are worth it.

Useful Information
Its warm, 72-degree water makes this a perfect outing for kids. However, they must always be closely supervised because the spot doesn’t have lifesaving equipment or safety railings to prevent falls. Don’t get too close to the edge!

Visit Artisan Workshops and Take Home Hand-Loomed Clothing

For centuries, textile production in Mitla was based on backstrap looms, a tradition handed down from ancient Mesoamerican cultures.

In 1940, floor looms were introduced, and production expanded. Since then, Mitla has become one of the most important textile producing centers in the Valles Centrales de Oaxaca (Center Valleys).

Get to know the artisans who imbue textiles with Zapotec culture using age-old techniques. Visit Bia Beguug, Arte Duxiil, Bianiij Arte y Diseño Textil, Taller Don Armando, “Dad Rood” Taller Textil, Taller Artelar, Taller Rusenini, and Cocijo Artesanía Textil workshops.

Enjoy Casa Espadín Mescal

Learn about the process of making artisanal mescal straight from master mescaleros. Step up to the bar and try the variety of mescals made from wild agaves and blends. This is the best place to enjoy regionally made mescal and embark on the Ruta del Mezcal (Mescal Route).

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