Downtown Oaxaca is like traveling back to an elegant colonial city from the 16th century. It was one of the first Spanish cities in Mexico and is home to some of the most beautiful colonial buildings in the country that have been preserved almost intact. Its decorations show pre-Hispanic symbols with Spanish techniques.
Since 1976, the center has been considered a Historical Monument Zone with just over 900 monuments. Less than 10 kilometers away is Monte Albán, the most important ceremonial center of the Zapotec culture. In 1987 UNESCO declared the historic center of Oaxaca and the archaeological zone of Monte Albán a World Heritage Site.
One of the buildings that best represent downtown Oaxaca‘s Novo-Hispanic baroque architecture is the Ex-Convent of Santo Domingo. It was inaugurated in 1608; one hundred years later, in 1731, its chapel was built. Its botanical garden distinguishes it because it is the seat of the Museum of Cultures.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption is a building with baroque marble finishes. The construction of the building began in 1535, and it started its services as a cathedral in 1640. Hence, it has an extensive collection of paintings dating from the 18th century.
The Textile Museum is another cultural space that stands out in downtown Oaxaca. Its mission is to show the techniques, designs, and creative processes of textile elaboration. This museum has several private collections with hundreds of pieces in each one.
The painter Francisco Toledo created the Institute of Graphic Arts, a museum library, in 1988. It is located in front of the former convent of Santo Domingo. The most important collection is that of Mexican Art, which has works dating from the pre-Hispanic period to the contemporary.
More locations in downtown Oaxaca
After a day strolling through downtown Oaxaca, a good meal is necessary. Here are two restaurants with authentic Oaxacan food that are located downtown:
First, we recommend the restaurant las 15 Letras (15 letters) for something traditional. The conventional cooks’ movement leader founded it in 1992. Here the traveler will have the opportunity to taste dishes from every corner of Oaxaca, including the famous mole negro. They have two menus, making it an excellent option for lunch or breakfast amidst the flavors and smells of Oaxaca.
Second, Rutopia recommends Tika’aya, an innovative Mixtec food restaurant near downtown Oaxaca. Its tasting menu is a five-course meal. The chefs use authentic local ingredients to prepare the food.
Indeed, Oaxaca is synonymous with culture, beautiful spaces, and good food. These are just some of the treasures that locals and travelers can find in downtown Oaxaca, whose aesthetics delight the eyes. Hence, a day in downtown Oaxaca guarantees an unforgettable trip.
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