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Posts Tagged ‘Zaachila’

The Y-shaped valley of Oaxaca is about 700 square kilometers, not all that big when compared to California’s Sacramento Valley, which is approximately 2,570 square kilometers.  Yet, unlike the “sameness” one encounters in Sacramento Valley towns (sorry, CA), one can’t help but be struck by the unique identity of each of the Zapotec villages that are only kilometers apart.  One specializes in red clay pots, another in black pottery, and another in green glazed ceramics.  There are villages of woodcarvers near weavers of cotton and others of wool, never mind the fashion trends!

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Day of the Dead celebrations and cemeteries differ, often dramatically, from village to village.  And so, from the whitewashed graves of Santiago Apóstol and the candlelight of Santa María Atzompa (today’s earlier post), we came to the carved wooden crosses in the Panteón Municipal of the Villa de Zaachila.

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Along with livestock, produce, and household goods, wood gathered from the hills surrounding Zaachila is a major part of Zaachila’s weekly Thursday tianguis (open air market).  It’s one of my favorites!

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In August 2011, Vive Oaxaca launched a campaign to showcase the best of the state through a series of video shorts.  Two have already been released online:

Esto es Zaachila

and, Esto es Guelaguetza

I’m looking forward to Monday night’s online release of, Esto es Oaxaca de Juárez.  I guess you know what my Tuesday morning blog post will be!

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Being serenaded on the bus from Zaachila back to Oaxaca…

Two guitarists on bus.

What’s not to love???

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… in Zaachila

Wall mural: magenta skull with writing: Mr. Weto; Oaxaca; Reedie

and Zimatlán de Lázaro Cárdenas.

Woman's head with 3/4 white mask with large red flower

I have no idea what they mean…  But, who cares?

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Yesterday’s trip to Zaachila began with the archaeological site, located right above the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad.

View of Church of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad from Zaachila archaeological site

Zaachila, named for the pre-Columbian Zapotec king, Zaachila Yoo, was the last Zapotec capital, following the demise of Monte Alban.  It was eventually conquered by the Mixtecs, who were still there when the Spanish conquistadors appeared on the scene.

Entrance to Zaachila archaeological site

First excavated by archaeologist Roberto Gallegos in 1962, only a small fraction of the site has been uncovered.  However, visitors have access to two small tombs in mound A.

Facade of Tomb 2

Tomb 2 is the much less decorative of the two, though it apparently once held jewelry and other valuable offerings, many, of which can be found in the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City.

Interior of Tomb 2

According to the brochure available for purchase (10 pesos), Tomb 1 was constructed in the epoch III-A (250-650 CE) and reused in the Post-classic era (950-1521 CE).

Facade of Tomb 1

Seven figures adorn the walls of Tomb 1.

Figure of Yahui on far wall of Tomb 1

Figure of Búho (owl) on left wall of Tomb 1

Figure of Bújo (owl) on right wall of Tomb 1.

Figure on right wall of Tomb 1

Figure of Bezelao (a supreme god) on left wall of Tomb 1

Figures of 5 Flower and 9 Flower are also depicted but I couldn’t lean far enough over the barrier to photograph them.

The site recently reopened after being closed for several months.  Work continues…

Piles of stones under trees

The site is open Monday through Sunday from 8 AM to 6 PM.  A small museum collects the 31 peso admission fee, displays photos of many of artifacts removed from the site and on display in Mexico City, reproduction of parts of the Codex Zouche-Nuttall (housed in the British Museum), and photographs from other archaeological sites in Oaxaca.

For more information on the Mixtec Group Codices, take a look at the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies website.

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Thursday is market day in Zaachila.  And, along with the baskets, aprons, succulent fruits and vegetables, mouthwatering food stalls, kitchen and hardware, it features turkeys (hobbled and unable to trot), goats of many colors, yokes of oxen, and little piggies going to market…

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I love it!

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