- Oaxaca Zócalo
- Palacio de Gobierno
- Iglesia de la Compañia
- Alameda de León
- Catedral de Oaxaca
The Oaxaca Zócalo is definitely the first stop for any budding sightseer to the city. As well as being a point of interest in itself, the Oaxaca Zócalo is surrounded by plenty of other interesting tourist stops and is conveniently located in the city centre, giving you easy access to the rest of the city.
The pedestrianised and attractive Zócalo is one of Mexico's oldest UNESCO world heritage sites. Along with the nearby archeological site of Monte Albán, the Oaxaca Zócalo and historic centre has been protected as a magnificent example of Spanish colonial city planning. The square is flanked by beautiful stone arcades and is filled with trees.
On the south side of the square you will find the old Palacio de Gobierno. The building you see today is neoclassical in design and was originally opened in 1884 after over half a century in construction. Nonetheless the earthquakes 1931 left it in a pretty sorry looking state and large reconstruction works took place between 1936-48 to get it looking as pretty as it does today. However, this very spot is where the city's first ever town hall was originally built in 1576. Due to the Oaxaca Protests which involved lots of demonstrations outside the Palacio, the government is moving to a new building in a less busy area and the Palacio will become a museum. Just to the west of the Palacio is the pretty Templo de la Compañía, originally built as a Jesuit Temple in 1579, it suffered a lot of earthquake damage so heavy restoration had to take place to preserve its ornately decorated facade.
At the adjoining northwest corner of the square you can pop into the Alameda de León. Almost like an extension of the Zócalo the second important plaza is also pedestrianised with plenty of shady spots to escape the midday sun. It's a perfect place to continue emersing yourself in the hubbub of the city centre. To the north of the Oaxaca Zócalo you will find the rather dour baroque Catedral. The gothic facade is decorated with stone carvings and the immense structure dominates one whole side of the main square. Inside is a less somber affair with a mish mash of bronze, marble, gold and religious artwork. Construction began on the cathedral in 1553 but constant earthquakes interrupted buildingwork and it wasn't completed until the 18th century. Love it or hate it Oaxaca's cathedral is a statement and its heavy, bold lines seem to suggest that after waiting so long to be finished, it's not going anywhere.
Looking for Oaxaca Tourist Information? The Oaxaca Zócalo has an excellent tourist booth with helpful staff where you can obtain all the information you need.