Walking towards ruins along 5 De Febrero Street we found this little church on a nearby hill. I climbed up there. WARNING - stairs don't deserve their name anymore! From up there you have a nice view on Mitla and the countryside.
(and check out the picture, where that cactus decided to grow :-))
The better part of the visit to Mitla were the narrow underground passages at the Grupo De Las Columnas ruins. From the inner court you can enter into few tunnesl. Very low and narrow. Not to mention hot & humid. To be honest, there was nothing interestin in there, but it was quite adventurous. Couple of times I thought I'll stuck. Not for those with claustrophobia.
This is what you come to Mitla for. To see the unique stone mosaics in whole Mexico. These are the remains of pre-hespanic town. Probably the most important Zapotec religious center.
Nowday, ruins are surrounded by modern town. The ruins themselves are nothing impressive. Ok, they look nice. But that's all.
And the site is rather small so it will be a short visit.
We took a bus to Mitla and then walked to the ruins there. It cost 30 pesos to enter, and from there you could see all of the ancient ruins, temple, and even go into the tombs they had (I went in for a bit, then got claustrophobic...its like being in an underground box!).
Really interesting place to look at, but don´t consider it to be an entire day trip unless you want to shop at the stands and shops around. It only takes about an hour to see it all, less if you aren´t culturally inclined.
Inside the Palace is the column of life. If you hug the column, it will tell you how log you will live. Legend says that if you can hug the column and at the same time come around and touch your hands, then you will have a short life. I'm happy to say that no matter how hard I try, I never manage to touch my hands :)
Right from the entrance, the first thing that captivates your mind will be the impressive Palace with its colorful red wall. The Spanish Cathedral on the back makes for an amazing contrast between the two cultures
The vegetation around the archeological site was also very beautiful. I already mentioned the big cactus fence on my Mitla homepage; well there were more big cactuses on the site.
In fact I made this picture for my father as he has a green house full of cactusses, however he hasn't such big cactus as this one in his collection, and he asked me why didn’t you bring it, well it was to big for my hand luggage and to prickly . . . .
Just outside the church there was a remarkable Way of the Cross. All the Stations of the Cross were painted on the wall around the church.
On the picture you see the scene where Jesus dies on the cross.
Most churches in Mexico have a lot of statues. I don’t know if all the statues represent Saints. In fact that doesn’t matter; it gives a special atmosphere in the church. Also sometimes the statues showed really bloody situations, a bit creepy sometimes.
In the Grupo de Iglesea, there were once the same style of buildings as in the Grupo de las Columnas.
But the Spanish used the stones of these buildings to build this church, the Iglesea de San Pablo Apostol.
This church is named after the guardian Saint of Mitla, the Apostle Saint Paul.
In the Grupo de las Columnas, there is also a patio with two grave tombs which you can visit. The gangways towards the tombs are narrow, wet and a bit slippery. But it is well worth the effort, the gangways are not very long.
One of the two grave tombs contains the Column of Vida, the ‘the Column of Life”.
The legend say that you must hug this Column with both arms, and from the space left between your two hands you can tell how long you still have to live.
I tried it too, and lucky for me I have still some years to go . . . . .
Unfortunately I could not make a picture of this Column as the room was too small and narrow and it was also to dark.
In the Grupo de las Columnas you can see lots of buildings with great decorations.
These decorations must be made by the Mixtecs, because the Mixtecs usually used geometric decorations instead of the pictures of animals, humans or gods, which were used elsewhere
Here in Mitla you can see some Pre-Columbian buildings, these buildings still have the original colors.
In the Grupo de las Columnas you can see a palace with some grave tombs. Behind the palace you can see the roof of the Catholic Church which is part of the Groupo de la Iglesea.
In fact there are five groups of buildings here in Mitla, but only two can be visited; the Grupo de las Columnas and the Grupo de la Iglesea.
Only one hour drive from Mitla there is this place wher water comes from the ground.
Some lakes and exceptional petrified waterfalls.
The architecture observed in the Ruins of Mitla has a rather unique and precise construction. Of particular interest is the zigzag craftsmanship found in the columns and walls.