I was already winded when I arrived in Oaxaca as the altitude is considerable higher compared to Indiana. But the climb to the summit pushed me to the edge. But the view, oh my, what a view, made it all worth it. Monte Alban was worth it!
Monte Alban is an archeological treasure located in Mexican state of Oaxaca. The archaeological site at Monte Alban contains a large pre-Columbian step pyramid and other religious and secular buildings built by the Zapotec people of Mesoamerican descent around 500 BCE. The center of Monte Alban is the Main Plaza. Surrounding the Plaza are the Ball Courts, where players played a game similar to handball but utilizing their hips with a heavy rubber ball. The losers of these games were sometimes sacrificed. By the edge of the Ball Court and near the Plaza resides a large grasshopper, which where and continues to be an important animal to the region. By Los Danzantes, which are covered with lapidas (stone monuments), is a row of human statues that have a very distinctive Olmec (1500 BCE-400 BCE) influence.
Built at the summit of a large hill with the top flattened, the city structures should have been easier to defend than other areas, but this did not prevent Monte Alban from being first inhabited or ruled by the Zapotec, Mixtecs, Mexica (pronounced as ma-she-ka, but better known as the Aztecs) and eventually the Spaniards when they defeated the Mexica Empire on August 13, 1521. Due to so much conquest and movement of people, scholars do not know precisely where the name came from originally. It may have been a corruption of the indigenous name, or a Spaniard that controlled the area after the Spanish conquest. Whatever the origin of the name, the one thing that truly matters is that it is worth all the efforts in the world to see it.