AAA Editor Notes
Santo Domingo Cultural Center is 5 blks. n. of the Zócalo, next to the Church of Santo Domingo. The building alone makes the center a must-visit—a former Dominican convent that has been beautifully restored to highlight remnants of colonial-era murals and the lovely stonework embellishing arches and stairways. But this also is one of the city's best museums, with exhibits that chart the course of human development in the Valley of Oaxaca.
The showcase display features some 500 pieces of priceless jewelry and art objects—goblets, urns, masks, breastplates—made of gold, turquoise, jade, amber and obsidian that were found in Tomb 7 of the Monte Albán ruins. The museum also contains fascinating, carefully organized collections of regional handicrafts, costumes worn by the different Indian groups within the state, and archeological artifacts. Background information is in Spanish.
The Francisco de Burgoa Library contains more than 30,000 volumes published from the late 15th through the mid-20th centuries. On the grounds (once the site of the convent's orchards) is a garden (Jardín Etnobotánico) with an extensive collection of indigenous plants that have historical and cultural connections to the region. The garden is only accessible as part of a guided tour.
Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.