About Mitla

Mitla was a Zapotec and later a Mixtec settlement in what is now the modern town of San Pablo Villa de Mitla in Oaxaca in Mexico.

Thought to have first been inhabited by the Zapotecs in around 600 BC, Mitla evolved into an important ceremonial centre. It was later taken over by the Mixtecs in approximately 1000 AD and was still a thriving city at the time the Spanish arrived.

Mitla’s archaeological ruins are dotted around the modern town and divided into five units. The Church Group, which is the one pinpointed on the map, is near the main entrance to the site and close to the sixteenth century Church of San Pedro. This is one of the better excavated parts of Mitla.

Beyond this group of sites are four others, namely the Adobe Group, the Arroyo Group, the South Group and the Columns group. The Columns Group is often called the Palace group for its series of palace buildings.

One of the most impressive aspects of Mitla is the way in which its structures are decorated. Each adorned with elaborate carvings, these works of art distinguish Mitla from other Zapotec and Mixtec sites. It is also unusual that most of the carvings at Mitla are abstract rather than of people or animals.

There is a small museum at Mitla which exhibits several finds from the site.

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