lunes, 16 de junio de 2008

MITLA





Mitla (Mictlan o Lugar de muertos en náhuatl, Lyobaa o Lugar de descanso en zapoteco, Ñuu Ndiyi o Lugar de muertos en mixteco) es una zona arqueológica localizada en el estado mexicano de Oaxaca. La ciudad se localiza a 40 km de la ciudad de Oaxaca, y en ella han trabajado diversos arqueólogos entre los que destaca Leopoldo Batres (1852-1926), quien descubrió cimientos zapotecos bajo las decoraciones mixtecas existentes.
En Mitla hay evidencias de ocupación humana desde principios de nuestra era (año 0 a 200). Ante la desaparición de Monte Albán como núcleo de poder, Mitla se convirtió en una población muy importante que funcionó como centro de poder para los zapotecas del valle. Su máximo crecimiento y apogeo ocurrió entre 950 y 1521.
La zona arqueológica comprende cinco conjuntos de arquitectura monumental: Grupo del Norte; Grupo de las Columnas; Grupo del Adobe o del Calvario; Grupo del Arroyo y Grupo del Sur. Los conjuntos del Adobe o Calvario y del Sur, por haber sido construidos en épocas anteriores, reproducen la tradición de plazas, rodeadas de palacios sobre plataformas, al estilo de Monte Albán.

Grupo del Norte, una iglesia fue construida sobre éste.
En los conjuntos del Norte, de las Columnas y del Arroyo, se ubican los edificios administrativos y palacios de personajes de alto rango. Estos palacios se caracterizan por el uso arquitectónico de grandes monolitos y por sus fachadas ornamentadas con mosaicos de grecas de diferentes diseños enmarcados por tableros, elementos que son parte de la rica tradición arquitectónica zapoteca iniciada en Monte Albán con fuertes influencias teotihuacanas.
Al oeste de la población actual de Mitla, se encuentra "La Fortaleza", sitio defensivo amurallado por los zapotecas, para defender su ciudad de posibles invasiones. En las cercanías de Mitla se localiza el sitio de Hierve el agua que frecuentaban los zapotecas.





Situated at an elevation of 4,855 feet (1,480 meters) and 24 miles (38 k) from the large city of Oaxaca, the ruins of Mitla are one of Mexico's most fascinating and enigmatic sacred places. Archaeological excavations indicate that the site was occupied from as early as 900 BC. Mitla's visible structural remains however, date from between 200 and 900 AD when the Zapotecs were present, from 1000 AD when the Mixtecs took control of the site, and from 1200 AD (some sources say 1500), when the Zapotecs were back in control. The word Mitla is a term from the Nahuatl language meaning 'Place of the Dead', and the earlier Zapotec name of Lyobaa means 'tomb' or 'place of rest'. These two names, as well as the findings of the archaeological excavators, indicate that the village had great importance as a place of burial during both Zapotec and Mixtec times.
The archaeological zone of Mitla includes five main groups of structures, and by the beginning of the Christian era the town had stretched for more than two thirds of a mile along either side of the Mitla River. The photograph shows part of the 'Hall of Columns' and the entrance to the main sanctuary. We do not know what these structures were called by their builders; the name 'Hall of Columns' comes from the first Spanish explorers who visited the site. The Hall of Columns, 120 by 21 feet in size, has six monolithic columns of volcanic stone that originally supported a roof covering the entire hall. The darkened doorway leads through a low and narrow passageway to the interior of another enclosure, now roofless, but also covered in ancient times. This chamber is one of the most astonishing artistic artifacts of pre-Columbian America. Its walls are covered with panels of inlaid cut-stone mosaic known as stepped-fret design. The motif of these intricate geometric mosaics are believed to be a stylized representation of the Sky Serpent and therefore a symbol of the pan-regional Mesoamerican deity, Quetzalcoatl.
Archaeologists are mystified regarding the use of this chamber. An early Spanish explorer, named Canseco, who visited Mitla in 1580, wrote of the Hall of Columns, "In this building they had their idols, and it was where they assembled for religious purposes, to make sacrifices to their idols, and to perform heathen rites". Regarding the interior chamber, Canseco says it was the residence of the high priest who was "like our pope". The oldest bit of information we have about the chamber however, and possibly the most revealing, is a legend that says the chamber was used for the final initiation of shamans who had been trained in magic and healing in the school of Mitla. The author has spent many hours meditating alone in the center of this mysterious chamber and found it to energetically function as a portal, or passageway, into other psychic dimensions.
In the 'Patio of Tombs', adjacent to the Hall of Columns, is a 2.8 meter tall column known as the 'Pillar of Death'. Legend says that if you hold your arms around this pillar and feel it move, then your death is immanent. Nearby to Mitla, along the road to Oaxaca, is the town of Santa Maria del Tule with its famous Arbol del Tule (tree of Tule) in the chuchyard. This mighty tree, having a circumference of over 160 feet at its base, is between 2000 and 3000 years old, making it one of the oldest living things on earth.