Santa Maria del Tule, is just outside of Oaxaca about ten kilometres or six miles south east. The town takes it’s name from the enourmous Montezuma cypress tree in the centre of the village known as the El Árbol del Tule and thought to be around 2000 years old.
Around the tree there is a baroque style church, craft market and town plaza. Underlining the importance of this tree is the fact that each year on the second Monday of October a Festival of the Tule tree is held. The existance of the tree was recorded by both the Aztecs and the Spanish when they founded Oaxaca. The girth of the tree is one of the largest in the world, it dwarfs the nearby buildings and is still growing. Indigenous people in the area considered it a sacred tree, and there is a Mixe myth that says the tree sprang from the walking stick of a God who was resting here.