Surrounding the city of Oaxaca there are many small towns where the customs and traditions of centuries are neatly followed, where handicrafts, gastronomy and legends are passed down from father to son and conserved within oral tradition, where the prodigious artistic heritage is the reflection of the colorful and vibrant spirit of the different communities where you will find sublime expressions in the handicrafts they have to show you, which will be object of your admiration. Likewise, their deeply rooted traditions are manifested in the daily life of the communities, including ancestral customs that modernism has not been capable of extract from the Oaxacan people, where a marriage or a wake is a solemn ritual; where the Guelaguetza takes place annually with the support and brotherhood of its people. As part of this celebration you can enjoy a varied and exquisite gastronomy in each and everyone of the towns. Thus, the great cultural richness of the central valleys of Oaxaca represents a spectacular array of elements truly worthy of your presence. Some of the principal towns are:
San José El Mogote
Considered one of the most ancient and important Middle American settlements of the valley of Etla. It is believed that it was founded before Monte Albán. Among the remains there are indications of urban planning in which the buildings appear to have been the place of an eminently elitist organization. In the local museum there is an archaeological exhibition, tangible proof of many years of investigation and excavations, there are two outstanding pieces, which are a jade figure of 35 cm. (13.8 inches) and a red painted statuette-brazier known in the town as the hot chili devil (el diablo enchilado).
Cuilapan de Guerrero
This is another beautiful town, known for its temple and for two historical details: the first one is that during many years the construction was thought to be an open chapel, but actually it is an unfinished Dominican structure; the second one is the event happened on February 14th, 1830, where General Vicente Guerrero was executed within the walls of the ex-convent.
In the interior of the temple, near the presbytery, there is a tomb protected by a metallic fence in which it is said that the remains of the Princess Donají and0 her eternal lover, the Mixtec Prince Nucano, are buried.
Santa Ana del Valle
This is a Zapotec community inhabited by weavers who produce the most beautiful and famous woolen rugs in the region, which are woven in the traditional fashion and dyed with natural colors, among which is the red obtained from the cochineal (grana cochinilla). The highlight of the traditional festivities is the spectacular Feather Dance (Danza de la Pluma), commemorating the conquest of Mexico.
Teotitlán del Valle
A place famous for the quality and beauty of its woolen products, woven in large wooden looms and decorated with natural dyes. The designs range from the traditional Zapotec frets and glyphs of Mitla to reproductions of contemporary paintings.
A few yards away from the archaeological zone, the lovely seventeenth-century temple of the Precious Blood of Christ (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo) is also a valuable visit for its outstanding quarry-stone carvings placed in the front of the building.
Be sure to visit the beautiful Central Valleys, and let these places to provide you of endless options for making your stay an unforgettable adventure.