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March 4, 2006
?Home ??Mexico Travel Guide ??Oaxaca Travel Guide ??Explore Oaxaca ??Around the z?calo
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:: Around the z?calo ::


The z?calo , closed to traffic, surrounded by portales sheltering caf?s and constantly animated, sees a steady stream of beggars, hawkers, businesspeople, tourists and locals. On Sundays and many weekday evenings there's a band playing in the centre, or else a performance or exhibition opposite the cathedral. On the south side, the Neoclassical, Porfiriano Palacio de Gobierno features a historical mural by Arturo Garc?a Bustos depicting Oaxacan history, second-rate by Mexican standards; at the top of the mural are the revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon (left), Benito Ju?rez and his wife Margarita Maza (centre), and Jos? Mar?a Morelos (right). Porfirio D?az appears below Ju?rez, with a sword. At the bottom right, Vicentre Guerrero's execution at Cuilapan is shown, and the left wall shows ancient Mitla.

You reach the rather clumsy Cathedral from the northwest corner, opposite. Begun in 1544, its construction was only completed in the eighteenth century after several earthquakes, since when it has been repeatedly pillaged and restored: as a result, despite a fine Baroque facade, it's not the most interesting of Oaxaca's churches. It is impressively big, though, with a heavy coro blocking the aisle in the heart of the church.

Walk past the cathedral and the Alameda, then right onto Independencia, and you reach the Teatro Macedonio de Alcal? in a couple of blocks, built in the French style fashionable under D?az. Still operating as a theatre and concert hall, it's typical of the grandiose public buildings that sprang up across Mexico around 1900 - the interior, if you can see it (try going to a show, or sneaking in before one), is a magnificent swath of marble and red plush.

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