Friday, April 5, 2013

Chichicastenango, Guatemala with Lauren

I would refer to Chichicastenango as the Grand Bazaar of Central America. It is a crowded, colorful place with emanating smells from the comedores (little eateries throughout the market), a place where vendors sell their  handmade crafts, fresh flowers, candles, limestones used to prepare black corn tortillas, chickens, peppers and even machetes. Beautiful hand-woven textiles, often used in the production of women's blouses an handmade bags were hanging from the fronts of little store fronts. I was overwhelmed with how many beautiful artisan gifts I wanted to purchase and take home with me! I did find a super rad overnight duffel with beautiful patchwork embroidery and long straps to be worn like a backpack, which has been really useful for weekend getaways. We spent a few days in the town of Chi-Chi, exploring the churches, greeting new people in the market place, trying amazing food...

 In the market place, you can find intricate wood carved masks for sale that are traditionally used in The Dance of the Conquest- a dance that tells the story of the last king of Maya, Tecun Uman, who defeated the Spaniards in 1524.
Credit: Jeremy Woodhouse Photography

Pretty central to the market place, lies the Church of Santo Tomas, which dates back 400 years! Amazingly, it is built upon a Pre-Columbian temple platform, with 18 steps leading to the front entrance. Each of the 18 steps to the church represents one month in the 18-month Mayan calender. It is here in the church, that Maya Priests, K'iche', perform ritual ceremonies, prayer, and candle lighting. 
Wikipedia image: Church of Santo Tomas

Women in the marketplace, preparing tortillas. 

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