The Auditorio Guelaguetza is located on the hill called Cerro del Fortín at the northwest edge of the city of Oaxaca. The theater was built in 1974 and seats about 11,000. The principal event is the annual Guelaguetza dances held on the two Mondays following July 16. Note that hotel reservations will probably be necessary if you are planning to visit during this busy time.|
The Guelaguetza is rooted in the ancient indigenous celebration, the feast of Xilonen, goddess of tender corn. At this time of year, it was necessary that the rains continue in moderation to enable the success of the crops. The feast was the starting point for two weeks of celebration. When the Spanish arrived in 1521, they converted the indigenous to the Catholic religion. They attempted to convert the existing celebration to a feast honoring the Virgin of Carmen. The result has evolved into a rich mixture of Catholic and native elements from various preexisting Oaxacan cultures.
For the annual Guelaguetza, dance groups representing several divergent native Oaxacan cultures converge on Oaxaca and present their interpretations of this traditional celebration in the form of dance and costume. For more information about the dances themselves see Dances from the Oaxacan Coast.
Also located on this hill are the Observatorio Astronómico, the Planetario, and the Parque Ecológico Cerro del Fortín. The antennas may explain why cellphones work so well in Oaxaca.
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