Two other museums of archaeology within ten miles of Oaxaca city are open to visitors. The 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
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
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.
Century the building served as a
Federalization of the complex
and it became a military
installation. The church closed in
1866 and did not open again
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
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
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.
While the Euro could prevent a family vacation to Paris this year, Oaxaca City is just as walkable and full
of culture and history.
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.
House rentals, and Apartment rentals put Oaxaca City within reach of budget conscious travelers.
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Santo Domingo Museum Oaxaca, Santo Domingo Cultural Center