Posted by: pennyinparadise | October 14, 2008

Ecuador Artesans & Markets

Ecuador has a thriving artesan community, and markets display an abundance of goods.   Cuenca is the center of culture in Ecuador and, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it produces over 220 cultural events each year…most of which are free to residents.   These include musical concerts, art shows, film festivals, fiestas and fairs.

The most famous product of Ecuador is the Panama Hat which gained popularity and its name when Teddy Roosevelt took to wearing one during the building of the Panama Canal.   The custom spread quickly, and now the hat is known for that country, instead of the one in which it is made.

Indigino Woman making Panama Hat

Indigino Woman making Panama Hat

Typical Panama Hat store in Cuenca

Typical Panama Hat store in Cuenca

Another beautiful apparel created here in Ecuador are the famous IKATs (pronounced ECAT), which are made by indiginous peoples in the countryside and brought to the cities to sell.   Some use chemical dies, but the most highly prized IKATs are made from natural vegetable, soil and animal materials.   Usually, the entire family is part of the process.

Natural substance die pots

Natural substance die pots

Strands after being died

Strands after being died

Weaving loom....one string at a time!

Weaving loom....one string at a time!

Beautiful finished scarfs and shawls

Beautiful finished scarfs and shawls

One of Ecuador’s largest import products is flowers…..greenhouses dot the countryside and markets in the city offer beautiful, colorful stems for pennies.

Flower market in downtown Cuenca

Flower market in downtown Cuenca

Because of the vastly different altitudes and climates in Ecuador, almost every fruit and vegetable is grown here.   Local markets display abundance in fresh foods.

Just 1 of 4 aisles of fruits/vegetables in just 1 of many markets

Just 1 of 4 aisles of fruits/vegetables in just 1 of many markets

Meat markets are super clean and very well stocked

Meat markets are super clean and very well stocked

There are open air markets in which you can purchase everything from blankets to baskets to saddles to cooking pots.

Stall selling cooking pots...aluminum, of course

Stall selling cooking pots...aluminum, of course

The small villages outside of Cuenca offer Sunday markets where pigs are roasted and carved to order.  These pigs can be roasted on the street corner, or in a community market.

Roasting a pig with a blow torch!!

Roasting a pig with a blow torch!!

Pick A Pig

Pick A Pig

Pick A Slice!

Pick A Slice!

Other delicious goodies….

And some not so delicious….although the locals say these guinea pigs are the very best eating on the planet.  Maybe someday…..but for me, they just look like big rats!

Roasted guinea pig....a real taste treat, they say!

Roasted guinea pig....a real taste treat, they say!


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