Comment: That last year seems to be a typo.
Five main sets of ruins are scattered throughout the small modern tourist hub that is San Pablo Villa de Mitla. Some are royal houses and ceremonial centers featuring central plazas. One is a crumbling pyramid, and another is a domed Spanish church with adjoining Zapotec courtyards. Elaborate mosaics cover the walls, meandering geometric friezes resembling carved lace; "petrified weaving" is how Aldous Huxley described them in his 1934 travelogue, "Beyond the Mexique Bay." Traces of color linger on masonry that was once slathered in bright red paint made by grinding cochinillas, wood lice that live on nopal cactuses.
Spanish chroniclers christened Mitla the Vatican of the Zapotec religion, and its wonders were said to continue underground. The Zapotecs, known for their metaphysical connection to rain, thunder and lightning, believed that they could commune with gods and ancestral spirits in an earthen cavity below their city, which led to a netherworld known as Lyobaa, the "place of rest."