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The State of Oaxaca | A Bit of History | The Oaxaca Valley |

A Bit of History

The pleasant subtropical climate and the tranquillity of the remote surroundings are what attract most of the travelers to the Oaxaca Valley. Ten thousand years ago, the first nomadic families chose to settle in Mitla for those same reasons and take shelter under large overhangs and in shallow caves.

The nomads collected food from the wild in baskets and nets, and then roasted it on an open wood fire. From time to time, families would gather on the banks of the Mitla River and hold a feast to celebrate the harvest with lots of eating, drinking and dancing.

Higher up at the foot of the valleys, agricultural terraces were discovered where corn and beans were cultivated. This sets the gradual change of life from nomadic to sedentary. Groups of families established here and built houses and made pottery. These were the first agricultural communities in Oaxaca and were located in Abasolo, Tomaltepec, in the Mogote.

These families, although few in number, fostered the Oaxaca valley paradise. Enormous trees, 30 meters high, wild herbs and orchids in a wide range of diversity once thrived here. Waters flowed in clear streams from the forested mountain cliffs. The wildlife of the forest was rich and varied.

Zapotecs established their own knowledge about nature by observing the seasons, the annual rainfall and temperature changes. Their calendar was mainly based upon the sun, but the wind, thunder and rain also constituted important elements for their observation.

With the aim to express their knowledge about the Universe and eager to have power, Zapotecs built pyramid platforms at specific places in the natural surroundings. The most ancient of these pyramid cloisters can be found in a small town outside of Oaxaca called El Mogote, which means The Hump. From this pyramid the visitors can see the mountains where, later on, Monte Albán City was built.

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