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San Pablo Villa de Mitla

San Pablo de Mitla is a town and municipality in Mexico which is most famous for being the site of the Mitla archeological ruins. It is part of the Tlacolula District in the east of the Valles Centrales Region. The town is also known for its handcrafted textiles, especially embroidered pieces and mezcal. The town also contains a museum which was closed without explanation in 1995, since when its entire collection of Zapotec and Mixtec cultural items has disappeared. The name “San Pablo” is in honor of Saint Paul, and “Mitla” is a hispanization of the Nahuatl name “Mictlán.” This is the name the Aztecs gave the old pre-Hispanic city before the Spanish arrived and means “land of the dead.” It is located in the Central Valleys regions of Oaxaca, 46 km from the city of Oaxaca, in the District of Tlacolula.TownThe town and municipal seat of Mitla is the commercial and tourism center for the area. Many of the houses in the modern town of Mitla are about 200 years old, in a rustic colonial style. In many of these houses are weaving and embroidery workshops which sell to the public. The town has a cultural center or “Casa de Cultura,” which offers classes such as those in traditional dance.There is a small open-air Handcrafts Market just outside the archeological zone. Most of crafts made and sold here are textiles, including hand-woven and hand-embroidered traditional clothing, hammocks, sarapes, rugs, handbags, tablecloths and other items. Necklaces and bracelets are braided from fibers and decorated with beads, seeds, small stones and/or ceramic figures. Many of the designs found on the textiles here come from pre-Hispanic codices and based on Zapotec mythological figures, but more moderns images such as those from modern Mexican painters can be found as well.
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