Two other museums of archaeology within ten miles of Oaxaca city are open to visitors. The Monte Alban site has a small museum displaying artifacts taken from the ruin.
Eight miles west of the city, San Jose el Mogote, built in 1200 BC and the oldest stone city in the State, has a small museum and should be high on the list for those wanting to study the ancient art that developed in the valley of Oaxaca. The artifacts in the small museum at the site show Olmec influence, some being similar to those found in the Olmec settlements on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and displayed in the Veracruz Xalapa museum or at the La Venta Museum in Villa Hermosa.
This artistic style with Olmec and Teotihuacan influence continued after San Jose el Mogote waned around 500 BC, and evolved into a unique Oaxacan style at the city on the mountaintop now call Monte Alban.
The art of ancient Oaxaca continued to evolve, culminating in intricate mold-made tomb offerings of the 2nd to the 8Th Century AD Classic period.
The classic period of Oaxaca ended with the decline of Monte Alban. Post Classic art included the Mixtec tomb offering found in 1932 by archaeologist Alfonso Caso and displayed in one large room at the Santo Domingo Museum.
Thirty miles south of Oaxaca city the Mitla ruin site shows the influence of a later style developed by the Mixtec who entered the Oaxaca region after the decline of Monte Alban
The Tenth Century AD City of Mitla reflects the artistic influence brought by people who came into the valley of Oaxaca from the northern mountains.
Santo Domingo Museum Oaxaca, now called the Santo Domingo Cultural Center is the premier museum of culturally-rich Oaxaca State.
The building is the largest of the old colonial building in the State and was once a church and convent built in the mid-sixteenth century by the Dominican order.
The City of Oaxaca has many ruin sites including two of the oldest stone cities in the new world, Monte Alban and San Jose el Mogote.
From Archaeological digs throughout the State, historic and important records of the culture and heritage of the region come to the museum in Oaxaca City for display.
Santo Domingo Museum Oaxaca, Santo Domingo Cultural Center
Santo Domingo Cultural Center was once a Dominican church and convent. After more than four years of preservation and restoration, it opened in 1998 as the City's premier museum.
The local ruins produce rare, ancient art from the Classic period, the most notable, burial urns that depict the Zapotec God of Rain and those that depict the Mixtec God of Fire from Oaxaca's northern mountains.
The Santo Domingo Museum and Cultural Center displays objects created in the city that once flourished on the distant hill to the right, now the mountain-top ruin of Monte Alban, active from 500 BC to 750 AD.
Santo Domingo Museum displays many classic era burial urns, most depicting the Rain God , Cociyo, a reigning deity during Monte Alban's Classic period, 200 to 800 AD.
Historical botanical gardens surround the building and display plants native to the area. Tours of the gardens in several languages are available for 100 pesos. (Volunteer Docent assignments available)
Oaxaca State's diverse climate zones range from coastal jungle to mountain rain forest and have nurtured over 15,000 indigenous plant species. More different plants are found in Oaxaca State than in all of Europe.
The Mixtec people entering the Valley of Oaxaca from the northern mountains brought with them a knowledge of metal working in gold silver and copper. They used the abandoned city of Monte Alban as a burial place where they re-used Zapotec tombs to bury their dead.
The Santo Domingo Cultural Center displays the Mixtec art found in the Tomb Seven offering in the most important artifact find in the new world.
The ability to work crystal, lost wax process gold and silver, and turquoise were hallmarks of the highly-developed Mixtec skill in creating ornamental jewelry and tomb offerings.
In second floor galleries the museum displays chronologically arranged antique art objects uncovered in the many ruin sites throughout the State. The objects found in the oldest cities show an Olmec influence, particularly those from the San Jose el Mogote ruin, eight miles north of the modern city of Oaxaca.
In the 16th Century the building served as a Dominican convent.
With Federalization of the complex it became a military installation. The church closed in 1866 and did not open again until 1902.
The military returned the building to civil use in 1993 and it was designated for cultural use. In July of 1998, after 50 months of restoration and preservation work, the Santo Domingo Cultural Center opened for visitors
Santo Domingo Cultural Center's botanical garden designed to display and protect Oaxaca's indigenous plants is open for guided tours in several languages as the Oaxaca Historical Ethnobotanical Garden
The Santo Domingo Cultural Center is home to four institutions, The Oaxaca Historical Ethnobotanical Gardens, The Oaxaca Cultures Museum, The Friar Francisco de Burgoa Library, and reading rooms for visitors where newspapers and magazines are available. The Burgoa Library preserves antique books that date back to 1484 and are available to scholars. Many other sections of the complex become art galleries for changing photography exhibits and concert and meeting space.
The mass produced vessels made in series contain symbols of water, corn, Venus, and the stars in the headpiece and cartouche and are found within the tombs or at the entrance.
Tourist Information Center Secretaria de Tourismo
How to Get There
From the Zocalo go north to the Llano Park and the theatre building at 703, the office is on the right side of the building.
Oaxaca City is great for walkers with its pedestrian-only streets. The Colonial city also and has many attractions and cultural tours for vacationers.
Oaxaca City is just as walkable and full of culture and history as many European cities.
In Oaxaca City you'll find art museums, restaurants, biking, walking in the parks and hills and many ancient archaeological ruins near the city.
Boutique hotels, Inns called posadas, B&Bs, and historic buildings converted to hotels, make Oaxaca City a good choice for a vacation.
Reached within a day's flight from US or Canadian cities, Oaxaca is well located in the 5000 foot mountains giving it a perfect climate.
Hotel and Apartment rentals put Oaxaca City within reach of budget conscious travelers.
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Santo Domingo Museum Oaxaca, Santo Domingo Cultural Center