Founded in 1486, Oaxaca de Juarez, capital of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, is one of the best-kept secrets in Mexican history. Here, strong pre-Hispanic roots coexist with a culture that changed radically after the Spanish conquest, and today both influences are visible throughout the city streets.
Given its stunning architecture, notable in the city’s Cathedral, the Temple, and the former Monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca’s historical center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city’s colonial identity resides alongside a strong presence of traditions and customs of the many ethnic groups populating this area. Oaxaca also benefits from a profound respect for pre-Hispanic cultures, thanks to the proximity of the most important archeological sites in the country, Monte Alban, inherited from the Zapotec community, and Mitla, once a capital of the Mixteca culture.
In Oaxaca, Oaxaca, folklore is everywhere and contributes to robust Oaxaca tourism. Local craftsmen, skilful masters of their art, come from villages deep in the state to fill the market and the shops with their hand-made black clay pottery, textiles, and world-famous alebrijes. Oaxaca also enjoys a varied cultural life, with many galleries and art museums where photographers, painters, fine artists, musicians, and writers display their wares.
Cuisine is also an important draw, and for many it is worth coming here just to try the famous dishes. Moles (rich and spicy sauces), chapulines (fried grasshoppers), chocolate, mezcal, and tejate (a maize flour drink) are just the beginning of a culinary adventure that can easily become an odyssey.
Traditionally hospitable people, Oaxaca residents are known for their celebrations, which include one of the most well-known in the country, the Guelaguetza. This celebration has taken place since pre-Hispanic times, and it honors the most remote cultural roots of the indigenous groups from the South of Mexico.
In addition to all that Oaxaca de Juarez offers, it is blessed with a sub-tropical climate, so even in winter the area bursts with colorful flora and fauna.