Cuilapan Tourist Attractions
Cuilapan (Náhautl: "coyote river") lies approximately 12km/7.5mi south of Oaxaca and is a centre of the once-important cochineal production. A brilliant scarlet dye is obtained from these insects which live on cacti.
Church and Convent of Santiago Apóstol
The Church and Convent of Santiago Apóstol, one of the largest of its type in Mexico, is situated on a hill.Construction of the enormous convent site began in 1555 but remained incomplete. The Renaissance façade of the roofless basilica stands in front of two inner colonnades, part of which collapsed in an earthquake. A stone pulpit, reached by a small flight of steps, can be seen on the left-hand side. The adjoining convent was abandoned in 1663 when the monks moved to Oaxaca. The walls are almost 3 m (10 ft) thick. The murals in the entrance depict the history of the order. The Mexican President Vicente Guerrero was confined in the last room on the main floor before being shot by his enemies in 1831. The terrace on the second floor, where the monks' cells were situated, offers a good panoramic view. On the rear wall a highly interesting stone plaque bears both the pre-Columbian calendar inscription "10 reeds" and also the Christian year 1555.
Church of Santiago Apóstol
The church, the only part of the whole complex still in use, contains the tomb of the last Zapotec princess, the daughter of the ruler Cocijo-eza, who after her baptism was named Juana Donaje.
Museum of Ethnology
A museum of ethnology and colonial and modern art is housed in the restored part of the convent.
Old Indian Ruins
Old Indian ruins discovered near Cuilapan included a remarkable tomb around which a pyramid had been built, an architectural style not typically found in Mexico. An external flight of nine steps leads into an antechamber, from where visitors pass beneath a magnificent stone lintel into the actual tomb. The date-glyphs could not be decoded for a long time. It is assumed that this is a Zapotec tomb.