Dating back to 500BC, the impressive Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán lie just six miles from the city of Oaxaca, and so are a must-visit in our humble opinion. Monte Albán is one of the most impressive Zapotec sites in Mexico, sitting 400m above the valley and so offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside – undoubtedly the reason ancient Zapotecs opted for the city as their capital. The site was inhabited over a period of 1,500 years, by the Zapotecs, but also Olmecs and Mixtecs, the latter who were responsible for creating one of the most impressive tombs – Tomb 7 – which was filled with treasure to honour their fallen ruler.
This grand Zapotec capital housed magnificent temples, tombs, and bas-reliefs complete with intricate hieroglyphics. While Monte Albán is one of the most impressive sites in Mexico it receives far fewer visitors than the very popular Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula, and so is much less crowded. The Regional Museum is close to the ruins and houses some of the Monte Albán artifacts in order to prevent them from being plundered or weathered. See some of the site's original statues, as replicas are now in their original positions. Without a doubt the area's most interesting and extensively excavated ruin, it is estimated that only about 10% of the site has yet been uncovered.
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