Zaachila was a powerful city in what is now Oaxaca, Mexico, 6 km from the city of Oaxaca.
Zaachila (the Zapotec name), in Nahuatl – “Teotzapotlan”, in Mixtec – “Ñuhu Tocuisi”. The city is named after Zaachila Yoo, the Zapotec ruler, in the late 14th and early 15th century. Zaachila was the home to Donaji, the last Zapotec princess.
Zaachila is now an archaeological site. A large unexplored pyramid mound is in the center in which two tombs were discovered in 1962. These tombs are thought to belong to important Mixtec persons.
Following the fall of Monte Alban, Zaachila became the last Zapotec capital. Sometime before the arrival of the Spaniards, the capital was conquered by the Mixtecs.
The history of the pre-Hispanic city is unclear. One theory is that the site flourished between 1100 and 1521 AD. Another theory is that the city was founded in 1399 and could be compared to Tenochtitlan, as it was in the middle of a lake.
The full extent of the ancient city is not known either, principally because excavation is impeded by the fact that most mounds have inhabited structures on them.
In 1971 new excavations found two more tombs registered with the numbers 3 and 4. Unfortunately, tree roots and rain filtrations have damaged the designs they represent skulls and cross bones over a red-colored background.
Since 1990 the project “La pintura mural prehispánica en México” of the Institute of Aesthetic Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, it is dedicated to record and study of the pre-Columbian murals, like those from Zaachila.
Due to population growth and neglect of the authorities a housing project was authorized which has added up to the damage and pillaging of this valuable archaeological site.
Nowadays, in this community barter is a common practice, every Thursday lot of merchants come to this place to interchange and sell their products.
On the last Monday of July, the Zaachila community meets in the archeological site, better known as “El Cerrito,” to honor the Corn Goddes (Pitao Ko Shuub), in traditional Laanii Roo Xten Daan Zaadxil.
The Goddes Pitao Ko Shuub is chosen among several young women who previously enrolled in a contest, the main demanded features are long black hair, they must have brown skin, and share the theme of the history of Zaachila.
The chosen one will be the host of all the activities of the festival.
Likewise, for several months, the 10 neighborhoods that make up the population have organized themselves to represent one of the representative dances of some region of the State of Oaxaca, among which the following stand out: the Tuxtepec pineapple flower, the Ejutla syrup, the Chileans from the coast, the Mixe syrup, the dances of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and as a contribution from the central valleys we find the dance of the feather and the stilt walkers, the latter are young people who dance on stilts approximately 1.5 meters high.
In this festivity, the ejidal authorities also get involved, and they are in charge of giving the participants tepache (a fruit-fermented beverage), mezcal, atole, and tamales.
This festival is one of the most colorful and joyful in the region because, in this festival cultural events, calendas, parades, culinary samples, and other events are celebrated too.