|Olmec Heads are on display in the Museum of Anthropology in the City of Jalapa in Veracruz|
Bus Oaxaca To Veracruz, Ruin Sites
From Oaxaca City, ADO first class buses to Veracruz are frequent. The night bus is a good option, the 10:15 pm bus gets you into Veracruz City at around 6:00 am. The bus fare is 466 Pesos.
Veracruz Ruin Sites
Veracruz is home to some good Olmec ruin sites such as San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan and to other ruin sites such as Zempoala (Also called Cempoala) and the ruin site of El Tajin.
Veracruz was homeland to the Olmec culture from 1500 BC to 300 BC and therefore offers some great artifacts such as the Olmec heads at the Jalapa Museum of Anthropology. Olmec influence continues in the area ruin sites. From Veracruz you can visit several, the closest, the the ruin of Zempoala, is 28 miles to the northwest and reached within an hour by bus.
Zempoala Ruin Site
To reach the ruin of Zempoala, go to the AU Bus terminal, just around the corner from the ADO first class terminal. Take the AU Bus, (ADO) to the town of Cardel for 30 Pesos. (Jose Cardel) The bus will be a semi-directo going to the city of Jalapa with a stop in Cardel.
* Caution, the taxicab starter at the ADO first class terminal might tell you that there is no bus transportation to Zempoala and try to book you a 500 pesos taxi.
Once you reach Cardel's bus terminal, walk two blocks to the Hotel Cardel where buses for 10 Pesos will reach the town of Zempoala and the ruin site. Taxis (50 Pesos) and colectivos (10 Pesos) also reach Zempoala from Cardel.
Ruin Site Circle Stones
|Zempoala Ruin Site, Veracruz State Mexico|
Once at the Zempoala ruin site, allow two or three hours to tour the ruins and visit the museum.
Of interest at the ruin site are two sets of circular stone structures. Within the larger circle you can, according to guide Jose Luis Carleon, stand in the center and feel the energy. You can also hear the amplified voices of others as they speak within the circle of stones. Jose is a spiritual guide and has many stories to tell about Zempoala.
The larger of the circle structures is arranged with stepped shaped stones set upon the stone perimeter wall. At the four cardinal points, the stones are stepped on both sides. Various researchers have speculated on the use of the stones as solar or lunar tracking devices but as of yet no definitive answers have evolved. The shapes of the stones are similar to the stones at the ruin site of Alta Vista on the Tropic of Cancer, a ruin site that is believed to have been built to track the Zenith day.
Zempoala was the first major Native American town visited by Cortez and his small army in August of 1519. The leaders of Zempoala wanted to be rid of the Aztec dominance which included tribute payments of goods and slaves so they allied with Cortez and supported his march towards the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in what is now Mexico City. The Zempoalans gave Cortez 200 porters and 40 soldiers according to Bernal Diaz del Castillo's account of events in his book, "The True History Of The Conquest Of New Spain."
Olmec Head sculpture, Jalapa Museum,
Return to Cardel
To leave Zempoala ruin site, walk two blocks south of the ruin to the main road where you find buses, 10 Pesos, taxis, 50 Pesos, and colectivos 10 Pesos, back to Cardel.
In Cardel the ADO station runs buses to many destinations including Jalapa for 65 Pesos.
Jalapa is noted for the Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa, (MAX), the location of several of the large Omec heads carved of volcanic stone.
www.uv.mx/max for museum details
Citlali and Real de Cortez
on Calle (street) Clavijero in Centro Historico