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Mitla is a town in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, famous for its pre-Columbian Mesoamerican buildings.

The town of Mitla

The full official name of the town is San Pablo Villa de Mitla. It had a population of just over 7,000 people in 1990. It is located about 45km (some 26 miles) by road from the city of Oaxaca, at 1655' North, 9624' West.

The main group of pre-Hispanic buildings is in the north end of town. The town of Mitla also has a small museum.

Mitla holds a large outdoor market.

Pre-Columbian Mitla

While archeological evidence shows that Mitla was occupied by 500 BC, the earliest construction date to about 200 AD. Construction of Pre-Columbian style buildings continued up until the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores in the 1520s. The town has been continually occupied ever since; part of the more recent town was built over pre-Hispanic Mitla, but some groups of old elite palace complexes remained.

The earliest structures at Mitla are Zapotec, the remainder are Mixtec but often display an interesting mix of Zapotec and Mixtec style.

The most famous buildings are built using cut stones in repeating gemetric patterns.

In 1494 the Aztec conquered Mitla and sacked the city.

A number of Spanish writers of the colonial era remark on the well built pre-Hispanic buildings here. Alexander von Humboldt published a description of the site in 1810.

Some excavations and repair of buildings was done under the direction of Leopoldo Batres in 1901. The Mexican government made further excavations of the site in the mid 1930s and the early 1960s.

Mitla is a popular tourism destination for visitors to Oaxaca.

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