Oaxaca is a fascinating mix of colonial, indigenous and ancient cultures, with fine Spanish buildings and churches, markets and numerous fiestas, and the important archaeological site of Monte Alban. After the Spanish conquered Oaxaca in 1533, the city quickly took on a Spanish flavour with ornate buildings, elegant archways, decorative wrought iron balconies and charming plazas. Today's Oaxaca may be a combination of pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern influences but, despite its heritage, the city remains essentially Indian at heart, wherein lies its particular charm. The townsfolk speak their own language and their market is one of the most colourful in Mexico.
The town is located in a valley surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur, which was once the centre of Zapotec and Mixtec civilisations. The early Zapotecs developed a great civilisation at nearby Monte Alban centuries before the birth of Christ. Overlooking the town, a trip to Monte Alban is a fascinating journey into the past. Also don’t miss the close by Mixtec archaeological site of Mitla.