Mexico/Oaxaca: Monte Alban
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Monte Alban is one of the largest and oldest and most important pre-Colombian archaeological sites in Mexico and the entire Latin America. It stands 1500 ft above the valley and the city of Oaxaca on a mountain ridge that was artificially flattened just for its construction. Monte Alban was founded around 500BC and became the largest center of the Zapotec culture and society. Monte Alban is truly impressive with pyramids, squares, staircases, walls, and so on and so forth. It will take a good half a day to explore the highlights – the Grand Square (Gran Plaza) measuring 200m by 300m and forming the center of the archaeological ruins, the Ball Court (Juego de Pelota), a number of large pyramids, and a palace with an inner courtyard and cruciform tomb. One characteristic of Monte Alban is the large number of carved stone Stella monuments called danzantes all around the plaza.