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PostOaxaca Report, with Drone Photos (Patrick Mears, -Germany, 01/05/18 3:53 am)
Attached below are three photographs taken in and near the city of Oaxaca by (from?) Eddie's drone yesterday and today.
The first photo is of the Montezuma cypress tree, reputed to have the "stoutest trunk" of any tree in the world and is situated in the town of Santa María del Tule not far from the archeological site of Mitla. Although no one knows its true age, it has been estimated to be approximately 1600 years old. As you can see, the tree dwarfs the colonial church just next to it.
The second photo, taken today, is of the Zapotec temple complex on the leveled peak of Monte Alban, very near to Oaxaca city. It is believed that the site was founded in approximately 500 BC and was eventually abandoned around AD 750. The restorations of the site are very impressive and the symmetry of the structures (e.g., many temples, platforms, residences and even a ball court) and their layout is remarkable. There is even (another) Michigan Wolverine connection to this temple complex, as recorded in Wikipedia:
"The investigation of the periods preceding Monte Albán's founding was a major focus of the Prehistory and Human Ecology Project started by Kent Flannery of the University of Michigan in the late 1960s. Over the following two decades this project documented the development of socio-political complexity in the valley from the earliest Archaic period (ca. 8000-2000 BCE) to the Rosario phase (700-500 BCE) immediately preceding Monte Albán, thus setting the stage for an understanding of the latter's founding and developmental trajectory. In this context, among the major accomplishments of Flannery's work in Oaxaca are his extensive excavations at the important formative center of San José Mogote in the Etla branch of the valley, a project co-directed with Joyce Marcus of the University of Michigan."
We ended today's tour in the city, where Eddie took the third attached photo--that of the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
This baroque church and monastery complex was founded by the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church and construction began on this site in 1572, being completed only in 1731. The site was occupied by the Order until the enactment and enforcement of the Leyes de Reforma beginning in 1857. The complex was only fully restored in 1999 and forms the centerpiece of the city's main square. Eddie's photo faces directly south and if you were to draw a short, southeasterly diagonal line from the church's main towers, you will see an enclosed compound, formerly a convent, and now a hotel (Quinta Real) where we are staying.
JE comments: Pat and Eddie, these drone photos are brilliant and a WAIS first! It only took 52 years and 39,401 posts. Eddie, I imagine your drone received a lot of attention from the locals--and perhaps no small amount of curiosity from the policía?
The Monte Albán shot in particular must be from at least 1000 feet/300m. How high can that thing go?
I've been to Oaxaca twice, during my youthful backpacking in 1984 and then in 1996. Yikes--can it have been 21 years?
Montezuma Cypress, Santa María del Tule (Oaxaca)
Drone view of Oaxaca City