Monte Alban; A Trip Into the Past

Monte Alban is one of the most impressive of the ancient ruin sites in Mexico. During its peak, from the fourth to the eighth century, the city was inhabited by over 25,000 people. By 1000 A.D. it was abandoned.

The grand plaza and tombs cover about one square mile atop a mountain that is situated in the center of the Oaxacan valley and looks over the present day city of Oaxaca.

For Joy and me it was a twenty minute bus ride to Monte Alban but we couldn’t help but imagine what work was involved in building this city and supplying the inhabitants with food and water. In the valley below there is a river and even now, in the dry season, there are large green patches spreading out to the surrounding mountains. We were exhausted after hiking around the city and up and down pyramids. To hike all the way up the mountain from the valley must have taken someone in great shape all day. And many must have had to carry supplies daily!

Pictures can’t accurately express the grandeur of this place but they can give an idea of the glory this place held.

Some History Carved in Stone

Looking East Towards Some of Oaxaca City in the Valley

Looking Northeast from Monte Alban

Looking South from Atop of One of the Pyramids
(notice the people in the far court)

Looking Back from the South

We think this was a Ball Court

Western Section

Sothern Pyramid
Not as ‘Reconstructed’ as Others

The Steps are Steep!
(Joy takes each step in stride, I hobble up and down carefully)

One Pyramid West of Center

Looking Down the North Slope

Looking Down the Southwest Side

Descending Into a Tomb

Emerging with Treasure!
(I left the bones to rest in peace)


  • Joy and Steve,

    The information tour is exciting but your pictures take my breath away. I think even one of just the cloud lines, which actually look like steps or mountains, also is so beautiful.

    How about the nights? The stars?

    I enjoyed seeing Steve’s adventuresome spirit while entering the opening in the tomb.

    Have fun,

  • It sure was a beautiful day, wish I could have been there with y’all !! Those steps looked like big giant steps, I’ll bet you slept good that night. Keep up the updates on the site, they are so awesome. I look forward to a visit to the web site daily!!
    Take care,