The city of Oaxaca is a unique cultural gem of colonial Mexico, where visitors can enjoy the blending of old-world Spanish style with the indigenous indian culture. There are numerous plazas, small parks, colonial homes, churches and small streets that make this a pedestrian friendly destination. Life in Oaxaca revolves around the main Plaza de Armas, and numerous cafes, restaurants and shops can be found there, as well on the many streets that make up the central downtown district.
The State of Oaxaca is located in the southeast portion of the Mexican Republic, and has population of more than 3 million people. Because of its mountainous terrain, it is hot and dry along the Pacific Coast, hot and humid in the lower levels of the (western) Sierra Madre range, quite cool in places higher than 2000 meters (7,800 feet) above sea level, and temperate elsewhere.
The City of Oaxaca de Juarez (wa-HA-ka -day-hu-AR-ez), the state capital is located in the center of the state, between parallels 15° 42Ž and 18 22Žnorth latitude and 3° 42Žand 16° 14Žeast longitude, Mexico meridian. The weather is temperate, with the following average temperatures: Spring: 25° C (77 °F); Summer: 22° C (72 °F); Autumn: 22° C (72 °F); Winter: 16 °C (61 °F).
The average altitude is 1,500 mts (5,085 ft) above sea level. The average temperature ranges between 29.3° Celsius (85° Fahrenheit) and 12.4° Celsius (55° Fahrenheit). The State of Oaxaca has an area of 95,364 square kilometers, amounting to 4.85% of the total size of the Mexican Republic.
The name Oaxaca (wa-HA-ka) comes from the Nahuatl word, "Huayacac" (oo-AYE-ahk-ahk), the roots of which are huaxin (huaje (goo-AH-ay), the seed pod of a tree common to the Oaxaca area), and Yacalt (top of the mountain or nose, or beginning), thus "the nose (or the top) of the guaje".
The City of Oaxaca was given its charter by King Carlos V of Spain, in the year 1532. It is estimated that approximately a quarter of a million people presently inhabit this colonial gem.