Yugal is an pre-Columbian town near the current city of Oaxaca, Mexico. Yagul began as a settlement around 500 BC, but the city really began to prosper after the decline of Monte Alban around 700 AD. It reached its zenith in the 1200’s and was abandoned after the Spanish conquest in 1523.
Before the town was settled there is evidence of humans habitation. There are ancient petroglyphs and paintings attributed to hunter gatherer tribes dated to 3000 BC and seeds and corn cobs indicate early plant domestication. The possible reason for this is that the soft rock of the Tlacolula Valley around the Yagul site provided many small caves and shelters.
The early planners of the city were ingenious. The Fortress overlooks the city with the two broad plazas, which were occupied by the ruling class of nobility and priests (check out the photo above). The highest level is the administrative and political level. Just slightly below that level, you can see ceremonial and religious buildings such as temples and the ball court. The commoners’ level was further down the hill often next to the crops. The Ball Court is the second largest in Mesoamerica, only the Grand Ball Court in Chichen Itza is bigger.
Besides the amazing view from the fortress looking down onto the town, my favorite part of Yugal was the burial caves. The outside had some nice stonework, but the inside were rather simple. For me it was more the trenches leading to the burial caves and then the facade of each. Very cool!!!!
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