Oaxaca Culture

Oaxaca Culture is uniquely Mexican. This page is a guide to the culture sites, things and events that Oaxaca has to offer. Oaxaca historical and cultural heritage will truly fill your senses.

Historic Center

Oaxaca has an incredible historic center declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the 11 of December of 1987. The historic city has kept its architectural beauty since the XVI century. Oaxaca's streets, plazas (squares) and alamedas make together the scene of colonial times.

Oaxaca church of Santo Domingo Oaxaca church of Santo Domingo*

Here are the most significant places within the Historic Center

  • La Plaza de Armas (Square)

  • La Plaza Alameda de Leon (Square)

  • La Catedral (The Cathedral)

  • Theater Macedonio Alcala

  • La Iglesia de Santo Domingo The church and convent of Santo Domingo hosts a museum, a library, a botanical garden and a book shop. This building is of special historic value, as it started construction in 1572 and ended 200 years later.

  • The Cultures Museum (Museo de las Culturas) with an archeological collection of things found from the indigenous Cultures that inhabited Oaxaca, and expositions about political, ethnical and religious history of Oaxaca.


Oaxaca convent of Santo Domingo Oaxaca convent of Santo Domingo*

Here are other significant religious sites in Oaxaca

  • The Temple of Carmen Alto

  • The Temple of Patrocinio

  • The Temple of La Merced

  • The Temple of San Agustin

  • The Temple of La Comapañia

  • The Temple of San Francisco

  • The Temple of La Defensa

  • The Basilica of La Virgen de la Soledad

  • The Chapel of El Sagrado Corazon de Jesus

  • The Chapel of El Calvario


Archeological Sites - Oaxaca Culture

Oaxaca archeology Oaxaca archeology*

Oaxaca archeology Monte Alban Oaxaca archeology Monte Alban*

  • Monte Alban
    It was the most important city of the Zapotec culture. This was one of the first civilizations developed in the Mesoamerica region. The culture established 500 A.C. and had its peak in the year 750 d.C. The Zapotecs settled in the Oaxaca valley and had political, economical and ideological power over the neighbor communities that inhabited the region.

    The main constructions are La Gran Plaza (The Great Square), Juego de Pelota (Ball Game), Sistema II (System II), Los Danzantes (The Dancers), El Palacio (The Palace), Plataforma Sur (South Plataform), Edicifios "J", "G", "H" (Buildings "J", "G", "H").


  • Mitla
    It was the second most important center in the region after Monte Alban. The place was a religious center. The Mixtec people took control of the city from the Zapotecs around the year 1000 AD. The word Mitla originate from the nahuatl and it means "Place for the death".

  • Yagul
    It was also a city of the Zapotec culture with a ceremonial center, a fortress and a residential area. The site is particularly important because there is evidence of the earliest occupation by nomad tribes from 3000 BC.

  • Zaachila
    This city was the last capital of the Zapotec culture. There is evidence that the site was under control of the Mixtecs.

  • Lambytieco
    This site has extensive cultural wonders. This town was unique as it was a producer and exporter of salt obtained by evaporating water in big ceramic pieces from the salt water river.

  • Dainzu
    This is a site with astonishing architectural beauty.

Dominican Route - Oaxaca Culture

The Dominican Route is a group of towns all with Dominican (religious order) influence having churches, chapels, and convents with common themes. The visit is worthwhile to admire the architecture and the history in Oaxaca culture that surrounds the towns. The towns that form part of the Dominican Route are:
  • San Pedro y San Pablo Etla

  • San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula

  • Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan

  • San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca

Festivals - Oaxaca Culture

  • La Guelagetza
    Also called Los Lunes del Cerro (Monday's Hills) is one of the most representatives festivals of Oaxaca culture. The festival comes live in the month of July, the 8 regions of Oaxaca get together to exchange their traditional customs. There is dancing in groups, food, and crafts. The cultural richness still holds since the entire festival is enacted by truly indigenous groups.

  • Noche de Rabanos
    The literal translation is Night of the Radish. During this pre-Christmas festival which occurs on December 23rd every year, there is a combination of folk art and food.


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