Mitla is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca just after Monte Albán and the main religious site for the Zapotec culture. The name of the site comes from the word “Mictlán” in Nahuatl, meaning the place of the dead. The site was built to represent a gateway between the living and the dead.
What stands out about Mitla and makes it unique are the geometric designs made with polished stone pieces that cover friezes, the walls and the tombs. Throughout the site, there is proof that during its prime, the stones were painted red as there is residue still visible of the color.
The site is divided into five groups: Southern Group, Adobe Group, Arroyo Group, Column Group and Church Group. Southern and Adobe Groups are ceremonial places and the rest are classified as organized palaces.
Mitla was inhabited 900 BC but when it began, it was a fortified village and was later turned into a religious center. Later, in 1000 AD, it was taken by the Mixtecs.
Mitla makes for a great stop on your way from the city of Oaxaca to Hierve el Agua, being located roughly in the middle between both places or simply a great day trip to get away from the bustle and hustle of Oaxaca City, being located only about 40 minutes away from it.
From Oaxaca City, take a bus from the main terminal or simply head to Periferico avenue and grab a bus from there (the front of the bus will clearly say "Mitla"), the cost of this is only 20 pesos.
Once in Mitla, you can walk to the ruins or take a moto taxi that should charge you no more than 10 pesos to take you there.