On our way to Cusco, Peru, we passed through the beautiful town of Chinchero. It is a small town in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru, about 40 minutes from Cusco.
Residents here are indigenous Quechua, members of a South American Indian people. Quechua was the language of the Inca Empire; and is still the major language.
Farming and textiles are prevalent, another trend that has not changed over the centuries.
More Quechua information here.
Due to the isolated mountain location, outsider inaccessibility and a history of proven success in sustainability have preserved their way of life.
Farming is terraced; and crops include potatoes, maize, quinoa and other grains.
With the severe sloping pitch of the mountains, terracing makes use of the slope by decreasing erosion and increasing irrigation.
It was common to see Quechua women on the steep hillsides dressed in traditional clothing as they turned hay and tended crops.
They wore flared skirts and festively-colored tops, sandals made from recycled tires, sometimes a bowler hat.
Weavers (women) were often seated on the ground using a nearby post to weave. Their skilled hands moved quickly and deftly, while their children cheerfully played.
A traditional handicraft, the wool is weaved from llamas and alpacas; and other South American camelids: guanacos and vicunas.
Natural dyes and elaborate patterns highlight this craft.
The Chinchero town square was a popular gathering place and market; set on a flat, grassy terrace surrounded by the towering mountains, and flanked by an old adobe church built by the Spanish in 1607.
In the Andes we walk slowly because the high altitude (12,343 ft. or 3,762m) makes it difficult to catch your breath. Natives don’t struggle with breathing…visitors do.
So we ambled around the plaza, admiring the wares and the mountain setting too.
Merchants spoke Quechuan and even our Spanish words were ineffective. But it was easy for them to display and express their weaving skills and earnest kindness.
Thanks for sharing this stroll through Chinchero.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.