Oaxaca (Oaxaca de Juárez) – It’s Difficult to Spell, but Easy to Love
A travel to the city of Oaxaca will let you experience the best, it is the most exotic city of Mexico and is located in the southern part of Mexico City. The city is the capital of the state of the same name. It is situated at an altitude of 5000 feet above the sea-level. Thus, it has a pleasant climate that draws a huge number of tourists to this place. The city will fascinate you because of its rich culture and history. One can appreciate the colonial architecture and art, ancient civilizations and vibrant cultures and traditions in this city. Most importantly, it is one of the safest tourist destinations in Mexico. This historically rich city was founded in the year 1529. However, there has been evidence that the city was inhabited since the prehistoric times; few of the earliest domesticated plants of America were found in the valleys of Oaxaca.
From 500 B.C. to 800 A.D., Monte Alban was the capital city of the Zapotec civilization. Lying at a distance of 16 km from the Oaxaca city, it is the most famous archaeological site situated at the top of a spectacular mountain. Apart from Monte Alban, other archaeological sites include Dainzu, Yagul and Mitla.
The city has been built on the lines of typical colonial towns, with the ‘zocalo’ (or the main square) being surrounded by the government buildings and cathedrals. Several of these colonial-era buildings have been restored and have been converted into hotels, restaurants, galleries and museums.
While the city’s history can be strongly felt by the visitors, its present day’s colorful and vibrant culture can be experienced through the food, fiestas, markets and handicrafts. There are several fiestas held in the city of Oaxaca all through the year, the important ones being the Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes), Guelaguetza (folk dance festival) and Day of the Dead.
Oaxaca is famous for its delicious cuisines and included culinary specialties like mole (rich sauce made of different ingredients including ground chilies), quesillo (locally made string cheese), tlayudas (Oaxaqueño pizzas) and chapulines (fried grasshoppers). One should not forget to try the traditional Mexican beverages, including the hot chocolate and Mezcal (an alcoholic drink made from the rarely found agave plant). Several tourists opt for the cooking classes to learn these lip-smacking cuisines.
Oaxaca is the paradise for handicraft lovers. Most of the villages surrounding the city have their own specialized craft forms such as textiles, ceramics, tin work and wood carvings. One can buy these handicraft items either from the shops in the city or visit these villages, meet the craftsmen and buy directly from them.
Since the climate is of temperate type, so the place can be visited throughout the year. If you want to avoid the crowds, then try not visiting it in the months from October to March.
The other famous tourist destinations of Oaxaca include:
Temple of Santo Domingo
Plaza of the Constitution
Macedonio Alcala Theater
Puerto Escondido beach