Oaxaca City, Oaxaca

Oaxaca city has gained fame around the world due to its beautiful architecture and to the richness of its cultural traditions, including the extensive variety of its cuisine and the moderate warm weather throughout the year. Both Oaxaca city and the

Oaxaca city welcome its visitors featuring interesting places to visit, like the central square or zocalo. The name Oaxaca comes from the Zapotec word Huaxacac, meaning in the nose of, or the land of grasshoppers. It is a small city in which you will be able to walk through the streets of the historical center without problems. This is the meeting point of everyone coming to Oaxaca and it has been this way since the early XVI century. A rich mix of cultures both of the world and of the state of Oaxaca passes by this point.

In addition, the city offers a 15 block area surrounding the zocalo where impressive colonial architecture can be admired. Examples of it are the Government Palace, the Macedonio Alcala Theater, the Santo Domingo Temple, the Cathedral, the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude, the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Prehispanic Art, and the House of Cortez, among other.

Open air coffee shops on two side of the main square, live music, and almost permanent social protests are part of the landscape at Oaxaca´s downtown.

Maps and brochures can be obtained from the local tourist office located just across the cathedral, in the corner of Independencia Ave. and Garcia Vigil Street.

The richness of the state of Oaxaca is present in its capital city of the same name. Samples of this can be seen in the handicrafts industry of the people of Oaxaca, which is estimated that reaches a population of 500 thousand artisans. Crafts include textiles and wood work, basket weaving, wrought iron, jewelry, black pottery, and cutlery, among other. Handicrafts have made Oaxaca world famous.

Among beautiful works stand out the colorful and fanciful shaped "alebrijes" which are a surreal handicraft. They are made of carved wood or different types of paper treated with water.

The richness of a culture can be appreciated in its gastronomy. Oaxaca´s gastronomy is a delight for the senses. The "mole", which is a sauce that is usually served wit pork, chicken or veal meat, can be red, yellow, green, or black. It can be made with almonds or many other spice or aromatic seeds or herbs. Besides, everyone should try grasshoppers or "chapulines". A legend says that those who eat them, will always return to Oaxaca.

Oaxacan "tamales" are exquisite. Likewise, stuffed "chiles" and "tlayudas, that are large and thick "tortillas" filled with a special Oaxacan cheese known as "quesillo" and Oaxacan salty "cecina" are simply delicious.

Among drinks and beverages, Oaxaca is famous for its chocolate as well as for its mezcal, a traditional alcoholic beverage similar to "tequila" which is excellent as an appetizer.

Oaxaca is a city of constant celebrations. However, the most important of them, the "Guelaguetza" has gained international fame due to its beauty and coloring. This celebration is a gathering of people coming from the 7 regions of the Oaxaca valley. Their purpose is to keep the gods happy so they can bless the earth with enough rain to yield plentiful harvest. The result of this celebration is abundance of dances, music, color and happiness.

Night of Radishes is celebrated on December 23rd. Carved, shaped radishes are display at the zocalo in all kinds of figures. People stroll the square and enjoy traditional food that night, previous to Christmas celebrations.

Oaxaca city offers many museums that are worth the visit. Some of them are the House of Juarez, the Philately Museum, or the Rufino Tamayo Museum of pre-Hispanic Art. Arte galleries are also highly recommended to visit, like Art of Oaxaca, Quetzally, and Indigo.

Very close to Oaxaca, astonish archaeological zones can be admired, like Mitla and Monte Alban. These areas represent the cradle of Zapoteca culture. In addition, Yagul, Zaachila, El Cerrito, and Dainzu are other interesting nearby sites where ruins of pre-Hispanic cultures can be visited.