Tourism As A Development Strategy In The — страница 9

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dominated by the cathedral of Oaxaca, and a few blocks north, the more striking Church of Santo Domingo (Plate 4.21). These and many other colonial buildings such as the Basilica of La Soledad, the Church of San Felipe Neri and the Convent of Santa Catalina all attract visitors. When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico and realized that they had discovered a world of unrivalled beauty, their architectural style was drawn partly from their own culture and partly from those already there, such a style not repeated anywhere else and is regarded with pride by the regional government when maintaining and reconstructing old buildings. From the Regional Museum of Anthropology and History, filled with a collection of relics and jewellery excavated at the nearby archaeological site of Monte

Albán, and the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art, to the Graphic Arts Institute and Museum House of Benito Juárez, where this former Mexican President worked. It is clear that the Oaxacans are using every element of their history to attract tourists, in providing something for everyone. These attractions are not specifically aimed at tourists but also for the local population. Rufino Tamayo donated his private collection to the people of Oaxaca, and the free entry to museums on Sundays is to enable the locals too, to benefit from these attractions. The buildings are built hard against the pavement in a blaze of unexpected colours (Chunn, 1994), the layout of blocks running from east to west and north to south, gives the impression of uniformity but on closer inspection,

every street is unique and has something different to offer the visitor (Plate 4.22). Other attractions to the city, to the entire region, include the gastronomy and shopping. Oaxaca has produced some of the finest regional dishes in Mexico and in 1986, there were over 400 establishments in the capital, selling food and drink and in 1993, there were over 72 first class restaurants in the whole state (Alvarez, 1994, p. 54). Oaxacan handicrafts are admired all over Mexico and the world and attract many people to the shops and markets of the city (as the main market centre), and to the Indian Villages in the surrounding Central Valleys, here the majority of products are still made (Fig. 4.22). Carpentry includes brightly painted wood animals from Arrazola; good quality ceramics,

such as black pottery from San Bartolo Coyotepec and the green crockery of Atzompa; machete making in Ocotlan; leather and tinware from the city itself; gold and silver are normally reproductions of Monte Albán jewellery and lastly, the colourful textiles such as `sarapes’, rugs, dresses and weaves can be found all over the Valley. These many artisanal handicrafts reflect the artistic spirit of the Oaxacan people and although originally made for the local population are now used to attract tourists outside the region and the country. The sixteen different ethnic groups of Oaxaca enrich the traditions of the state and give a special flavour to the festivities that take place through-out the year, playing their part in attracting the hordes. The most important is the

`Guelaguetza’ or `Monday on the Hill’, which takes place in July at the large open-air amphitheatre on the wooded hill of Cerro del Fortín overlooking the city. The tradition, going back to when the pre-hispanic Zapotecs, Mixtecs and Aztecs held a festival to honour their maize gods, followed by Christian priests celebrating the feast of the Virgen del Carmen, and since then, pilgrimages have continued to the present day. Magnificently costumed dancers from the seven regions of Oaxaca (almost 500 costumes) perform lively traditional dances to live music. The `Guelaguetza’ is very important for tourism in the area, as thousands of people flock to the city, mainly from the region itself. Hotels fill quickly and the financial gains for the locals are important. Again it is

the cultural image that is being used to attract visitors. Although the majority of visitors are Oaxacans during the festival, the Guelaguetza is presented and performed in various hotels weekly and sometimes nightly throughout the year, which attract more non-regional tourists. Other festivals such as the Radish Night (begun in 1889) celebrate the art and imagination of the Oaxacan people, figures are carved from radishes and displayed in the zócalo. As well as in the city itself, the many attractions in the surrounding regions play their own role in tourist activity. In addition to the handicrafts and markets here, a major part of tourism for Oaxaca is the magnetism of visitors to the archaeological zones. These historical mounds of the preconquest period are dotted around the