Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Magnificence of Monte Alban......
















Oaxaca is the artistic, cultural and spiritual home of Mexico - the heart and soul of the country. One reason for this is the presence of Monte Alban, one of the most magnificently serene sites in the whole of Mexico...

















Monte Alban is the ancient Zapotec capital and was first inhabited around 500 BC. The elite here were probably the first people to use writing and calendars in Mexico. Not only are the pyramids and other architectural structures extremely well preserved, but the surrounding views of the mountains and countryside are simply breathtaking. The site stands on a flattened hilltop 400m above the valley floor creating a 360 degree panoramic view. The serenity of the setting and the uninterrupted vistas just cannot be beaten....



















The details of the carvings are also fascinating - there are many stelae with beautiful ornamental details, and here are the carved Danzantes (dancers) panels of the sacrificial victims - the awful grimaces are due to castration being part of the sacrificial rites....


















With the beautiful architecture, the echoes of the past, the setting, the skies and the scale, it is impossible to avoid contemplating your place in the universe, your relationship with the world around you, meditating on the meaning of life itself......


















I can never resist adding a splash of red to wherever I find myself to be....














Monte Alban is just a 10 minute drive from the centre of Oaxaca city, and it is very easy to reach by taking a hourly shuttle bus from the Hotel Rivera del Angel on Calle Mina. It is worth at least a three hour visit if not more to fully appreciate all there is to see. For more windows on the world this week, click here for My World Tuesday postings.

16 comments:

Gary Denness said...

I love Monte Alban, and it is the scenery and Oaxacan feel that help
make it what it is.

It is one of my favourite ruins, but not the fave. Have you ever been to Xochicalco?

Sylvia K said...

What a fascinating, gorgeous place and it does remind me of Chitzen Itza where I was able to visit a number of years ago. Fantastic places, marvelous history! Your photos are superb as always and as I've said before, they're the next best thing to being there! Have a wonderful week, Catherine!

Sylvia

Rosadimaggio63 said...

Grandiose queste immagini dal tuo mondo :)
Buona serata.
Myriam

aka Penelope said...

The subtle sandy shades in your photographs became a little livelier when the lady in red stepped in.:)

ewok1993 said...

I love ruins. I have to keep this in mind when I find myself south of the border.

Enjoy the week.

Arija said...

Beautiful indeed with its views and stone remains of another civilization, yet for me the serenity is broken by the memories of human sacrifices that linger there still.

Peter said...

Sorry for being a bit too absent in commenting here lately ... my days seem to be busy. I have now made the tour of your latest posts. Fascinating and beautiful posts on a fascinating country, which I so far visited too briefly some 45 years ago. Something has to be done about that!

Kay L. Davies said...

One of the reasons I want to return to Oaxaca one day. 40 years is far too long ago!
Thank you for posting these amazing photos, Catherine.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

BraCom (Bram) said...

sorry for the late reaction, but I had to do my job the whole day

Beautiful My World Tuesday posting

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

Link to My Word Tuesday post!

Seen on My World Tuesday

Johnny Nutcase said...

looks like a really interesting place, thanks for the post! Love the collages too!

Catherine said...

Hi gary - thanks for the note about Xochicalco - haven't been there yet and will put it on the list - is it easy to get to by public transport??

A Cuban In London said...

I find it unbelievable that every time I think 'well, there's not much she can show us about Mexico', and there it goes... another rabbit out of the hat! :-) What complements these great images so well is your explanation. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Oh Oaxaca looks wonderful in a splash of red!(as do you.) I love exploring ruins, these pix are lovely.

Gary Denness said...

I drove to Xochicalco, so I can't comment on the public transport availability. It is a bit out of the way to be honest. I guess that's one reason why it's a little quieter than most ruins. But it's really worth the visit.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/garydenness/sets/72157622005740128/

Alissa Nicolau said...

Loving all the shadow stripes!

Anat said...

Hi Catherine,

Is it possible to contact you? I would like to ask you a specific question on Mexico city.
My mail address is z1.anat@gmail.com, if you are willing to contact me.

BR,
Anat