Mitla Ruins are about 1 km (.6 mi.) n. of the main plaza via Av. Morelos. This site was begun by the Zapotecs but taken over by the Mixtecs, and the architectural style of elaborate cut stonework reflects the latter group. Unlike many Mayan ruins, Mitla was never buried under encroaching jungle, and the structures are well preserved.
Rectangular patios are surrounded by buildings or long, narrow rooms. Underground chambers and cruciform tombs honeycomb the soil beneath these structures. The Hall of Columns, the most important group, is supported by six enormous pillars, each a single stone, and more than 100,000 pieces of cut stones form the intricate mosaic decorating its walls. The most common design is an abstract zigzag pattern. The lack of human, animal and mythological figures sets Mitla apart from other North American archeological sites.
Note: Vendors congregate outside the ruins, vociferously hawking fake archeological pieces and a variety of crafts. There also is a craft market near the ruins entrance. Keep in mind, however, that many of the same items can be purchased in town as well, sometimes at lower prices.