Monte Albán Travel Guide

  • Monte Alban - the Sacred Mountain
    Monte Alban - the Sacred Mountain
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
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  • Monte Albán
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Monte Albán Things to Do

  • Frida Kahlo House in Mexico City

    Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in the house of her parents in Coyoacán. At the time, this was a small town on the outskirts of Mexico City. Her father, Guillermo Kahlo (1872-1941), was born Carl Wilhelm Kahlo in Pforzheim, Germany. He was the son of the painter and goldsmith Jakob Heinrich Kahlo and Henriette Kaufmann. Kahlo's father was of...

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  • Tombs

    To the north of the Gran Plaza are the cemetery and tombs. The tombs contain magnificent glyphs, paintings, and stone carvings of gods, goddesses, birds, and serpents. The tombs may or may not be open to the public when you arrive, but it's worth checking.Of the tombs so far excavated, the most famous is Tomb 7, next to the parking lot on the east...

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  • Palace

    The Palace is a two-part structure with a central staircase, with alfardos ending in the form of talud. In the upper part are 13 rooms grouped around a central patio. The doorway of this grouping is a dintel, recently arranged.You can watch my photo of Monte-Alban on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 2' 28.33" N 96° 46'...

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  • East Side

    Also on the east side of the plaza are several altars and pyramids that were once covered with stucco. The sloping walls, wide stairs, and ramps are all typical of Zapotec architecture and reminiscent of the architecture of Teotihuacán. You can watch my photo of Monte-Alban on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 2' 40.45" N...

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  • North Platform

    The North Platform is a large maze of temples and palaces interwoven with underground tunnels and sanctuaries. There are numerous reliefs, glyphs, paintings, and friezes along the lintels, jambs and walls to explore. In this section of the ruins, you are likely to see vendors from the nearby town of Arrazola selling "original" artifacts from the...

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  • Danzantes

    Los Danzantes (Building of the Dancers) is the main highlight of the west side of the plaza. It is the earliest surviving structure at Monte Albán. This building is covered with large stone slabs with carvings of humans in strange, tortured positions (these are copies; the originals are in the site museum).Because of the fluid movement represented...

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  • West Side

    The west side has more ceremonial platforms and pyramids. One of the pyramid complexes, named System IV, is almost identical to Mound M, which is on the west side near the South Platform. Both are well-preserved and were once topped with one-room wooden temples. You can watch my photo of Monte-Alban on the Google Earth according to the following...

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  • South Platform

    On the south side of the plaza is the South Platform, which once had several carved stelae. Most of these are now in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, but at the northeast and northwest corners are staelae showing prisoners of war with their arms and legs bound. A small temple on top of the platform is known as Mound III. You can...

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  • Ball court

    On the eastern side of the Great Plaza is an I-shaped ball court (Juego de Pelota). This ball court differs slightly from Maya and Toltec ball courts in that there are no goal rings and the sides of the court slope.The ball game played on this court had ritual significance, and losers were usually put to death as an offering to the gods. The game...

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  • Observatory

    To the south of these center buildings is the Observatory, which was either used as its name indicates or to celebrate victory in battle. Glyphs carved on the walls may be of the names of conquered tribes. The only building at Monte Albán not aligned with the north-south axis, the Observatory was probably aligned with the stars instead.You can...

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  • Great Plaza

    The various structures of Monte Alban center on the Gran Plaza or Great Plaza, a large open space created by flattening the mountaintop. From this plaza, aligned north to south, there is a great view of the Oaxaca Valley. From the Gran Plaza, there are many buildings to explore – excavations at Monte Alban have revealed over 170 tombs, numerous...

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  • Zacatecas state

    Zacatecas is located in the great central plateau of Mexico, with an average elevation of about 7700 feet. The state is somewhat mountainous, being traversed in the west by lateral ranges of the Sierra Madre Occidental, and by numerous isolated ranges in other parts – Mazapil, Norillos, Guadalupe and others. There are no large rivers, only the...

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  • Monte Alban Pyramid

    This massive complex of pyramids, terraces and crumbling temples is considered one of the most important examples of pre-Columbian culture in all of México. Constructed by a culture that possessed a genius for building, this spectacular city is one of the most thoroughly explored archaeological sites in México. Throughout the centuries Monte Albán...

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  • Isla Mujeres

    The Isla Mujeres is located due east off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It's about eight miles across the Bay of Women (Bahia Mujeres), still in sight of its neighbor to the west, Cancun. The island was formed by ocean currents depositing sediment, which provided its abundance of sand and flat topology. Isla is five miles long and roughly one...

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  • Oaxaca sight seeing tour

    La Verde Antequera (the green place of antiques), as it is known with aristocratic nostalgia, watches over countless ancient and modern legacies that tempt its visitors. The historic heritage catches the eye when traveling through the city and its surroundings. The valleys around Oaxaca also offer an incredible variety of ecological experiences and...

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Monte Albán Transportation

  • How to Get to Monte Alban

    The archeological zone Mote Alban is located 10 km. west of the state capital, Oaxaca City. Approximate travel time to the site is 15 minutes travelling on the Oaxaca-Monte Alban highway.To get to Monte Alban by bus, go to the Hotel Meson del Angel on Mina 518 between Diaz Ordaz and Mier Y Teran. Tickets to Monte Alban are sold in the lobby and the...

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  • Toursit Bus

    To get to the site caths the tourist bus that runs from Hotel Rivera del Angel at Mina street 518 in Oaxaca (3 blocks south and 4 blocks west from Zocalo). Return ticket costs 24 pesos and the ride takes less than 1/2 hour. But be aware that you have fix time of return - you're left with 2 hours to explore Monte Alban. Should be more then enough.

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  • Must either take a bus, taxi or rent a...

    We actually had rented a car in Oaxaca and went up to Monte Alban. I have taken the bus before on a previous visit, and that was a hair raising experience. The road up to the site is very curvey, so be careful if you get motion sickness. It will take about 1 hour by bus, or 30 minutes by car (if my friend is driving!)

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Monte Albán Shopping

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    by filipdebont Updated May 30, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At the entry of the site there is a museum (no fee), and also a big souvenir shop and bookstore.

    But just outside the gate there are several stands were local people are selling local goods. So if you want to buy some small souvenirs to take home, this is the place to be.

    Do not forget to bribe.

    What to buy: small souvenirs

    What to pay: depends on how good you can bargain

    Do you need some souvenirs?
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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Monte Albán Local Customs

  • About food and water

    One of the great joys of Mexico is the food. So eating Mexican is part of visiting or living there.But: Be careful. Please check out the link below. Indeed got such a bad stomac and been sick for days felt like months. The photo below shows a plate of fantastic tasting Nachos yet the photo and food were taken in Germany at a very nice Mexican...

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  • Zapotec Shepherd

    When abroad I usually miss my family and my dogs – German shepherds. That’s why I used to take any opportunity to communicate with all local dogs which I meet at any place. I was glad to see a dog in Monte-Alban which I called a Zapotec shepherd and it didn’t mind, haha!

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  • Monte Albán Hotels

    0 Hotels in Monte Albán

Monte Albán Warnings and Dangers

  • Mind your steps

    Though the Platforms in Monte-Alban aren’t so high as the Pyramids in Teotihuacan nevertheless to climb the Platforms is a difficult task (do you remember – about 2000 m over the sea level high). The climb to the top of the South Platform is rather difficult. You may want to take several breaks on the way up because climbing the steps can be rather...

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  • OFFICIAL GUIDES

    If you have come all the way to Monte Alban, then first go to the Centro Cultura Santo Domingo in Oaxaca to gain a better understanding of the arrangements on Monte Alban. Second, hire one of the official guides at the entrance to the site. But, be sure the guide is knowledgable and able to converse adequately in a language understandable to you...

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Monte Albán What to Pack

  • Erika74's Profile Photo

    by Erika74 Written Mar 14, 2008

    Luggage and bags: Pack a bag/backpack with snacks

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Walking shoes, lots to climb

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: sun block

    Photo Equipment: everything you can carry- awesome breathtaking sights

    Miscellaneous: Make sure to buy a few water bottles before you get up to Monte Alban, there is a small restaurant but not other choices to get some really needed H2O. I'm not sure of the elevation, but you'll need the water.

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Monte Albán Off The Beaten Path

  • Textiles

    The Aztec warriors who opposed the conquistadors as they invaded central Mexico wore armor incorporating cotton padding. Of course, this padding may have been effective against the primitive weapons of other Indian nations, but it yielded all too often to the blows of metal sabers and cannonshot inflicted by the Spanish. Today very pretty...

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  • Get off the beaten path

    When in Monte Alban, go exploring off the path. The great thing about visiting Mexican archeological sites is that almost anything goes! I mean, they do have ropes for places where they don't want you to go, but for the most part, you can wander anywhere you want to and not worry about it and get some great pictures!

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  • Colours

    Thanks to Rolando, our Zapotec guide, we did see a lot of plants; also on certain herbs he explained how these herbs were used by the locals to heal some diseases

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Monte Albán Favorites

  • Monte Alban - Archaeological Site

    The entrance to the site is at the northeast corner of the Gran Plaza. Here you'll find the site museum, a shop with guidebooks to the ruins, a cafe, and a craft shop. The museum is well worth a visit; the cafe isn't bad and provides a nice view of Oaxaca Valley. Location:Oaxaca State, off Mex. 190, 8 km (5 mi) west of Oaxaca City, Mexico....

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  • Monte Alban - the Sacred Mountain

    Monte Albán is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán Municipality in the state of Oaxaca.Besides being one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica, Monte Albán's importance stems also from its role as the pre-eminent Zapotec socio-political and economic center for close to a thousand years. It was founded toward the...

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  • Monte Alban rising over the Valley of...

    The site is located on a low mountainous range rising above the plain in the central section of the Valley of Oaxaca where the latter's northern Etla, eastern Tlacolula, and southern Zimatlan & Ocotlan (or Valle Grande) branches meet.The present-day state capital Oaxaca City is located approximately 9 km east of Monte Alban.The partially excavated...

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Explore Deeper into Monte Albán
Mexico City sight seeing tour
Things to Do
Residencia de la Tomba 104
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Stela 9
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Edificio de los Danzantes / Building L?
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Galeria de los Danzantes
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Lapidas de Conquista / Building J
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Plataforma Sur
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Monticulo Q
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OBSERVATORY
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VIEWS OFF MONTE ALBAN
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NORTH PLATFORM
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LOS DANZANTES
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BUILDINGS L AND M
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SOUTH PLATFORM
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GRAN PLAZA
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BALLCOURT 2
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BALLCOURT
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Monté Alban
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Serenity and Blue Skies
Favorites
Observatory
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Pictures
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Tombs
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Tree of Life?
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Ballcourt
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Los Danzantes
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Galeria de los Danzantes
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Great vegetation
Off The Beaten Path
Beautiful flowers
Off The Beaten Path
Juego de Pelota
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Observatory
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Under a tree
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Hot, Hot, Hot
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Sundail
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Building IV
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No Clouds
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Steps
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Building II
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Northern platform
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Gran Plaza
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North side
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Map of Monte Albán

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