Street Life, Oaxaca de Juárez
Main Street Oaxaca is a bustling street with all kinds of shops and restaurants. It leads you to the Zocalo as well as the Cathedral. The street is actually a pedestrian walkway, so you can leisurely walk down and shop for the many different crafts that Oaxaca is famous for.
The Macedonio Alcalá Tourist Corridor is a street paved with green cantera that is now only open to pedestrian traffic.
Along the street are notable places such as the original building to house the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art) or MACO is located here as is the Plazuela (small plaza) Labastida and the Parroquia de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo (Parish of the Precious Blood of Christ).
During the entire colonial period the central plaza was never paved, nor had sidewalks, only a marble fountain that was placed here in 1739. This was removed in 1857 to put in the kiosk and trees were planted. In 1885 a statue of Benito Juárez was added. It was remodeled again in 1901 and a new Art Noveau kiosk installed.
The kiosk in the center hosts the State Musical Band, La Marimba and other groups.
The Alameda de León is located northwest of the Zócalo. It is a garden area that is essentially an annex of the main square. In 1576, viceroy Martín Enréquez de Almanza set aside two city blocks on which to build the city government offices, but they were never built here. One of the blocks was sold and the other became a market.
Antonio de León, governor of the state of Oaxaca, lived in front of this market and decided to turn it into a park in the 1840s, making it a small replica of the Alameda Central in Mexico City. In 1885, a statue of León was added.
Much of the charm of the city is to be found from simply strolling round the old city, disappearing up alleys and one way streets, losing yourself a little and discovering for yourself streets of single storey buildings of varying colours. Although most of the roads are moreorless the same size (and mostly one way),there are major thoroughfares that shoud be avoided - unless you want to be suffocated by the diesel fumes and overcome by the noise (the main drawback to this otherwise delightful city).
The Plaza de la Constitución, or Zócalo, was planned out in 1529 by Juan Peláez de Berrio.
The plaza is surrounded by various portals.
On the south side of the plaza you will see the Portales de Ex-Palacio de Gobierno, which was vacated by the government in 2005 and then reopened as a museum called "Museo del Palacio 'Espacio de Diversidad'.
Other portals include the "Portal de Mercadores" on the eastern side, "Portal de Claverias" on the north side and the "Portal del Señor" on the west side.
Fountains of green stone with capricious figures were installed in 1967.
The Catedral de Oaxaca, also referred to as Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, is the third to be built as the first two were destroyed by large earthquakes in the 16th and 18th centuries.
Construction of this third church began in 1702 and it was consecrated in 1733. Its facade is made of the green cantera stone commonly found in Oaxaca's buildings, and the interior is in Neoclassical style. The altar features a statue of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de al Asunción).
Tourism in this city is based on its large number of colonial-era structures as well as the native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures. It was named a World Heritage Site in recognition of its treasure of historic buildings and monuments.
The attractions are the verdant landscapes of the Oaxaca Valley, and the architectural and cultural charms of the city itself.
You can watch my 3 min 35 sec Video Oaxaca out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
You can watch my photo of Oaxaca de Juárez on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 3' 53.47" N 96° 43' 26.13" W or on my Google Earth Panoramio Macedonio Alcalá Tourist Corridor 2.
Stroll in the streets of Oaxaca and taking photograph of street vendors can be fun because they are so many of them. Make sure ask permission before you take a shot. The vendor would appreciate more if you buy their food. I did try the Tamales, empanadas and steam corn in a cup it’s more like a desert because it was sweet but not sure of the name. Some sell hot food some sell refreshment some sell ice-cream.
You can classify strolling the city as a list of something to do. While strolling the city they are many building with colonial architecture to admire. Oaxaca is rich with interesting and colorful colonial buildings, they are everywhere to be seen. While strolling you can take photos of the interesting graffiti done by graffiti artist with government permission and the local doing their business.
One of the most charming aspects of Oaxaca is the lovely, vibrant artwork that pops up everywhere. You can find artists, performers, and weavers around an unexpected corner-- but another thing to look out for when you visit Oaxaca is the architectural art. In this town, art has become so closely fused with everyday life that even houses on any given street is beautiful and unique in its own way.
My friends and I spent more than half an hour just getting from our hostel to Santo Domingo Church (theoretically a 10 minute walk) just because the art on the houses were such a big fascination/distraction!
BOTTOM LINE: Pay close attention to the details and motifs built into the houses on any given street when you're in Oaxaca.
But in Oaxaca itself, it's the wandering round the streets that provides the single most attractive pastime, astounded by the bright colours and impressive (and so not so impressive!) colonnial architecture.
Mexicans really know how to throw a party-- if you walk the streets enough, you will inadvertently run across a big celebration hosted by friendly locals. As you saw from my Oaxaca home page, I was lucky enough to run into a HUGE wedding with traditional musicians and dancers.
Tip? Join in! Anyone who has a party on the streets usually doesn't mind the attention from the public. So don't be shy-- join in the fun and learn a dance or two from the performers. This interaction with the local daily scene beats a visit to fee-charging tourist sites on any given day!
The very first thing we did when we arrived in Oaxaca after getting a cab, was went downtown to wait until the Hotels opened so we could book a room for a few nights.
Sitting at a cafe and watching the people turned out to be as entertaining as some of the actual tours we had planned. So many tourists and locals intertwined, and everyone seemed to look like they belonged there.
Definitely a cheap and entertaining way to spend a few hours....
When the evening come, have a drink or a meal in the Zocalo under the arches. The square come alive ... it's pleasant to watch the natif people.