Traveling on vacation to Chichicastenango Guatemala
Surrounded by valleys with mountains serrating the horizons, Chichicastenango can sound isolated over time and space on the rest of Guatemala. When its narrow cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs are enveloped in mist, it's downright magical. The crowds of crafts vendors and tour groups who flock set for the huge Thursday and Sunday markets lend it a lot worldlier, more commercial atmosphere, but Chichi retains its mystery. Masheños (citizens of Chichicastenango) are famous for his or
her adherence to pre-Christian beliefs and ceremonies, as well as the town's various cofradías (religious brotherhoods) hold processions in observance in their saints across the church of Santo Tomás.
Top choice market in Chichicastenango. Some villagers still walk for many hours carrying their wares to arrive at Chichi's market, certainly one of Guatemala's largest plus a highlight of numerous people's trips to your country. It's a rich mixture of the traditional along with the tourist, where local women purchasing a new huipile rub shoulders with travellers trying to find a textile souvenir. Sunday would be the busier from the two market days, when Spanish school students and weekenders from Guatemala City descend en masse on Chichi.
Tickets & tours
Chichicastenango Market Day Tour From Guatemala City or Antigua. At dawn on Thursday and Sunday vendors pay off their vegetables, chunks of chalk (ground with a powder and boiled with dried maize to soften it), handmade harnesses along with merchandise, and await customers. In the past vendors erected their stands of tree limbs and covered these with cotton sheeting each market day, however, these days an ocean of tin roofs remain an enduring fixture atop the plaza.
Tourist-oriented handicraft stalls selling masks, textiles, pottery and so forth now occupy a lot of the plaza as well as the streets to your north. Things villagers need – food, soap, clothing, sewing notions, toys – cluster on the north end from the square along with the covered Centro Comercial Santo Tomás from the north side, whose upper deck offers irresistible photo opportunities in the fruit and vegetable-selling business conducted below.
Iglesia de Santo Tomás
Church in Chichicastenango. This church within the plaza's east side dates from 1540 which is often the scene of rituals which are more distinctly Maya than Catholic. Inside, the floor with the church could be dotted with offerings of maize, flowers and bottles of liquor covered with corn husks; candles are arranged in specific patterns along low stone platforms. Enter over the side door instead of the front entrance and be aware that photography is quite strictly not permitted inside.
The church's front steps serve a very similar purpose since the great flights of stairs before Maya pyramids (you will find 20 steps, for every single day on the Maya calendar). For high of the day (especially Sunday), they smolder with incense of copal resin, while indigenous prayer leaders called chuchkajaues (mother-fathers) swing censers (usually tin cans poked with holes) and chant magic words marking the days on the ancient Maya calendar along with honor of ancestors. The candles and offerings inside recall those ancestors, a lot of whom are buried beneath the ground just as Maya kings were buried beneath pyramids.
Shrine in Chichicastenango. On a hilltop south of town, Pascual Abaj (Sacrifice Stone) is often a shrine on the Maya earth god Huyup Tak'ah (Mountain Plain). A stone-faced idol stands amid a circle of squat stone crosses in the clearing. Said to be hundreds – perhaps thousands – of years, it's got suffered numerous indignities for the hands of outsiders, but residents still revere it.
Chuchkajaues come regularly to supply incense, food, cigarettes, flowers, liquor and maybe even a sacrificial chicken, in thanks and a cure for the earth's continuing fertility. The area is full of past offerings. The worshippers won't mind should you watch the goings on, but you'll want to request permission before thinking about photos. You can be asked in case you want to make an offering yourself.
Even if you will discover no ceremonies occurring, it is possible to still start to see the idol and like the walk within the pine-clad hill. To get there in the plaza, walk down 5a Av, turn straight into 9a Calle and proceed downhill. At the bottom, bear left along a path and head up through either on the morerías (ceremonial mask workshops) which are signposted here; the one within the right houses a museum of local culture. Exiting with the rear, stick to the path uphill throughout the trees towards the top on the hill.
Public Art in Chichicastenango. Be certain to admire the mural that runs alongside the wall in the town hall about the east side from the plaza – it’s dedicated to your victims in the civil war and tells the story from the war using symbology in the Popol Vuh, the ebook compiled by members from the Maya nobility immediately after the Spanish Conquest. Another lengthy mural, emphasizing village life, fronts the Museo Arqueológico Regional, around the plaza's south side.
Gallery in Chichicastenango. On just how down the hill to your shrine at Pascual Abaj, you could stop into this interesting gallery. Developed for an art institute for local kids with the backing of Project Guggenheim, it holds a smaller but unique variety of oil paintings from the artist brothers Juan and Miguel Cortéz and pupils. K'iche' courses are sometimes offered, with the chance to experience traditional Maya ceremonies (contact the gallery beforehand).
Capilla del Calvario
Church in Chichicastenango. On the west side from the plaza, this whitewashed church is the similar in form and function to Santo Tomás, but smaller. Ceremonies continue continually in front from the church, as worshippers ring a bonfire of fragrant copal, while within, candles are positioned upon blackened stone slabs.
Centro Comercial Santo Tomás
Landmark in Chichicastenango. Even on non-market days, the covered market about the north side with the square buzzes with activity. The fresh produce on display is often a reflection of Guatemala's bounty, from temperate vegetables from your highlands to tropical fruit brought up on the Pacific coast. Many vendors have sick and tired of having their photos taken so tourists are recommended to see the upper deck, obtaining the irresistible photo opportunities on the business conducted below.
Museo Arqueológico Regional
Museum in Chichicastenango. Chichi's archaeology museum holds the variety of Hugo Rossbach, a German who served because town's Catholic priest until his death in 1944. It includes some beautiful jade necklaces and figurines, together with ceremonial masks, obsidian spearheads, incense burners, figurines and metates (grindstones for maize). A second hall carries a portrait gallery of cofradía leaders.