Oaxaca, Mexico is located in the central valley of the country, 500 km from Mexico City. Oaxaca city lies between three central valleys and has a population of 263,000 people. During the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the area was home to the Zapotecs and Mixtecs who have left behind many interesting artefacts. The Aztecs then moved in and finally, the Spaniards founded the city of Oaxaca in 1529. However, the city suffered a massive earthquake in 1854 and another in 1931 which left over two thirds of it completely in ruins. Today, the city's industry is built around a thriving touristic centre, as many people come to witness the unaffected and traditional way of life enjoyed by the Oaxaqueños, as well as the fantastic geographical surroundings offered by the region.
Oaxaca is a wonderful centre for museums, art galleries and endless craft shops and markets. However, the city's real attraction lies in the fact that it has carefully preserved its traditional indigenous origins. Whilst other parts of Mexico have undergone radical urbanisation, in Oaxaca many indigenous languages are still spoken, and traditional music and cuisine remain at the heart of the culture. You must begin your visit at the spiritual and geographical heart of the city- the Zócalo. Dating from 1529, this central square is flanked by governmental and religious buildings. The area has been made a UNESCO world heritage site and serves as a meeting point for many Oaxaqueños on a daily basis. From here, you can weave in and out the stone streets of the historical centre, and soak up the very unique atmosphere of Oaxaca.
The city is almost always celebrating some kind of fiesta or other, so there are often special performances to watch and festivities to join in with.