Teotitlán del Valle
Teotitlán del Valle (pop. 5,000), nine miles (14 km) east of El Tule, at the foot of the northern Sierra, means “Place of the Gods” in Nahuatl; before that it was known, appropriately, as Xa Quire (shah KEE-ray), or “Foot of the Mountain,” by the Zapotecs who settled it, archaeologists estimate, at least 2,000 years ago. From the age of artifacts uncovered beneath both the present town and at nearby sites, experts estimate that approximately 1,000 people were living in Teotitlán by A.D. 400.
Present-day Teotitlán people are relatively well off, not only from sales of their renowned wool tapetes (visiting the local textile shops is the main reason for stopping in Teotitlán), but from their rich communal landholdings.
Besides a sizable swath of valley-bottom farmland and pasture, which every Teotitlán family is entitled to use, the community owns a dam and reservoir and a small kingdom of approximately 100,000 acres of sylvan mountain forest and meadow, spreading for about 20 miles (32 km) along the Valley of Oaxaca’s lush northeastern foothills.
You can go to Teotitlán by car, tour, taxi, or bus. Drivers, simply turn left from Highway 190 at the signed Teotitlán del Valle side road, nine miles (14 km) east of El Tule.
By bus, ride a Fletes y Pasajes Tlacolula- or Mitla-bound bus from the camionera central segunda clase (in Oaxaca City by the Abastos market at the end of Las Casas, past the periférico west of downtown).
Alternatively, ride the hourly Valle del Norte bus from the camionera central segunda clase parking lot. Get off at the signed bus stop and walk, taxi, or hitchhike the 2.5 miles (four km) into town.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition