Chincheros: Sacred Art and Weaving of Andean Culture

A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit the magical city of Cusco and its surrounding area. One of the best memories I now have from this getaway is my visit to the town of Chinchero, a small town only 40 minutes northeast of Cusco, on the summit of a mountain located at 3600 meters (11,811 feet) above sea level, with a colonial church, ruins, picturesque landscapes and the best part… the women of Chinchero, who made me smile and sigh more than a few times with their simplicity, candor, beliefs, customs and one-of-a-kind charm.

One of Chinchero's highlights is its church built during the colonial era, with its beautiful canvases from the Cusco School, characterized by the exclusive use of religious themes, with abundant use of red, yellow, gold and earth tones. These paintings resulted from the fusion of classical European culture and indigenous and mestizo culture, as well as the desire of the latter's artists to express their reality and vision through sacred art, as an act of worship of the sacred or the divine.

As I continued my visit, I then arrived at the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, a non-profit association directed by Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, who created this project in order to preserve the dying art of traditional Andean weaving, together with about twenty weavers who now meet to recreate by hand the traditional Andean weaving techniques which are less and less in danger of extinction.

Weaving is a part of Peru's history and traditions, so I invite you to be part of the gathering of this community of weavers, a social event in and of itself, a showcase of our values, the customs of our ancestors, and the Quechua language. The design of each piece is so unique that no two are alike, each one bearing the elements of a means of communication, with codes and figures that represent Andean culture as it is today, with its world view, beliefs and ancestral traditions.

Finally, Chinchero offers one of the most important fairs of the region, with its internationally-recognized high quality products known for their excellent craftsmanship and beauty. Sunday is the best day to visit the fair.

Chinchero is a must-see on your list of places to visit in Cusco. Let yourself be spoiled by the nature and magic of the Andes.

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