May 102010

The southern state of Oaxaca is famous for its lively and colorful markets. Many villages have a weekly market, and it is possible to travel from one market to the next during a week in Oaxaca without ever visiting the same market twice.

The weekly cycle of markets in and around the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. Map: Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

This is not a coincidence, since it is precisely what many of the market vendors do every week in order to maximize the number of people exposed to their salesmanship and wares. This is related to an important concept in central place theory, that of the threshold population required to support a particular good or service.

Visiting even a single weekly market in Oaxaca is a fascinating way of experiencing first-hand some of the amazing cultural diversity of this  extraordinary state.

Click here for an interactive version of the map of markets in central Oaxaca. The geography of Mexico’s markets is discussed in chapter 24 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico

Related article:

Oaxaca is the most culturally diverse state in Mexico


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