Yagul was a city associated with the Zapotec civilization, this means that even though they had contact with the Zapotecs, specially Monte Alban
, and were influenced by them, they weren't Zapotecs. The word Yagul means old tree in Zapotec and, though nobody knows who named it, it can be easily guessed why, since it's set around a hill. Yagul has been occupied since 500 AD -some of the burials excavated on the site date from that era- but it was during 1250-1521 AD when this site lived its golden era.
In the 1950's - 60's the site was excavated and rescued from destruction. About 30 tombs were discovered some bearing hieroglyphic inscriptions, this made of Yagul one of the most studied sites in Oaxaca.
The site is divided in three principal areas:
- the fortress: situated atop the cliffs, it was the defending point of the city.
- residential area: where one can walk into and across rooms experts believe to be the ruins of some residences.
- ceremonial center: large patios, some of them labyrinths, surrounded by buildings that might have been palaces and temples.
In August 2010 Yagul and the nearby prehistoric caves were appointed
a World Heritage Site and added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
There are some one-day tours that take you to Yagul and some close by areas. If you can't find any, you can rent a car, or ask at the information center at the Andador Macedonio Alcala how to get there.
The entrance is 30 pesos, the use of videocameras is 30 pesos and you can hire a guide for 120 pesos.
Open Tue-Sun from 9AM to 5 PM.