Chinchero, Peru

Chinchero, Peru

Chinchero, Peru

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.

 

Chinchero, Peru

Chinchero, Peru

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.

 

Peru, maize and grains

Peru, maize and grains

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.

 

Peru, Quechua woman and farm

Peru, Quechua woman and farm

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.

 

Andes woman (photo: B. Page)

Andes woman (photo: B. Page)

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.

 

Peru weaver

Peru weaver

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.

 

Chinchero plaza

Chinchero plaza

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.

 

Jet with the woman who crafted her just-purchased alpaca cape

Jet with the woman who crafted her just-purchased alpaca cape

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.

 

Weavers in nearby Cusco

Weavers in nearby Cusco

Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.

 

63 thoughts on “Chinchero, Peru

  1. Luck you being there 😉 I see the weavers are working on backstop looms with the warp tensioned by their bodies. I am experimenting with some alpaca wool in my own tapestry weaving at the moment but the alpacas are in a local Welsh valley with a very different climate I suspect!

    • Sounds like a wonderful activity for you Alastair. Alpaca and llama wander around in the Andes, I can imagine it is a very different world in the Welsh valley. Interesting to hear your “take” from across the world, thank you.

  2. I wonder if you heard about an American movie filmed there while you visited that gorgeous place? Here it goes: “The Last Movie” is a 1971 drama film from Universal Pictures. It was written by Stewart Stern and directed by Dennis Hopper, who also played a horse wrangler named after the state of Kansas. It also starred Peter Fonda, Henry Jaglom and Michelle Phillips. Production of the movie, which cost $1 million, took place in the film’s major setting, Peru. That’s how Chinchero’s name was mentioned to the world. The movie was a flop but the town was a absolutely winner! Great post my friend! 🙂

    • I never heard of this movie, HJ, though there are some popular Hollywood names involved. So I liked hearing about it very much, had to chuckle that it was a flop but the town wasn’t. I’m really glad you enjoyed the Chinchero post, and appreciate your contribution. Thanks so much, my friend~~

    • Yes, the weaving is a means of income. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Amy. I really like all these photos, especially for showing the omnipresent mountains that are a way of life there. Thanks so much.

  3. Amazing… and wonderful… to see that their lifestyle has not changed over the ages… not too many places like this left on the planet.

  4. I loved this….love the picture of you wearing your new cape along with the artist/weaver. I have always wanted to go to this place to paint portraits of the people. I think they are incredibly beautiful. Thank you Jet…you have really wetted my appetite with this one….Hope you enjoy a lovely week ahead…janet:)

  5. This is a region of our planet that has always fascinated me. Lucky you to have visited. I know I would not do well there, having had a pretty severe attack of altitude sickness at 10,100′ when we camped at the Great Basin National Park. THAT was a scary experience!

    • I’ve had one scary altitude exper. too, Gunta, and it only takes one. I walk very slowly and rest often, and we arrived here on bus which was slower than an airplane. I do feel lucky to have visited beautiful Chinchero, and am glad I could share it with you…and neither of us got sick today!

    • If you do visit Peru, Ingrid, try to make it to Cusco and the surrounding areas. It is so lovely. I bought alpaca wool gifts here for loved ones, and each one is really beautiful. Thanks so much for your visit today.

    • Yes, it was a great experience I feel very lucky to have had, and I am glad I could share it here today. Glad too to have you come along to Chinchero, Bertie — thank you.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this stroll through Chinchero – beautiful vistas, buildings, weavings, and people. Thanks for sharing another tale from your travels, they’re always a delight.
    (Vaguely related aside – my Dad adopted a llama on his little farm a few years ago. He used to take in waifs and strays needing a kind home, and Brian the llama saw out his days on a hillside in North Wales…)

    • I enjoyed hearing about Brian the llama, pc, made me smile. The camelids must be a memorable presence in Wales, because one of my Welsh blogger friends also commented on alpaca in his valley. An interesting camelid note I learned today, thank you. I hope you have a great week, pc.

  7. Jet your post comes at a time I was just thinking about doing another post on Peru.You have re-ignited my love of the people and colors of this amazing country. I do feel that I was in a bit of a fog the entire trip because of the altitude.

    • There can never be too many portraits of beautiful Peru, right Sue? I’m glad you enjoyed a trip to Chinchero here, and no elevation problems either. I look forward to one of your lively posts on Peru; I always enjoy every one of your posts. Hope you’re having a great week~~

  8. Lovely Chincero. Such a magical and literally breath taking place. The weaving culture there is so impressive. The young ladies are so determined to keep the weaving industry strong through the generations and lead to such opportunity for them. Thank you for sharing.

    • One of my favorite parts of visiting other countries is seeing how the people live and love. I have enjoyed your posts for this same reason, rommel. I really enjoyed the unique experience of Chinchero. Always a pleasure to have you stop by, rommel.

  9. Thank you for this beautiful and informative trip to a small town in Peru, Jet! I so enjoyed your portrayal of the people and Athena’s beautiful pictures.

  10. The woman in their colourful traditional outfits is one of the things I remember best from Peru. I purchased a large blanket in blues, yellows and reds from them that I still appreciate a lot today, even after 10 years. Their handicraft is very beautifu, and durable. Thank you so much for a lovely post Jet!

    • I liked hearing that one of your novels is a weaver, Andrea. I stood watching the hands of so many weavers there, I’m so glad you got to see a few of these photos of them. Thanks so much.

  11. I was there once, but I remember Cusco better. I still have one woven piece left, a strip…tie belt type of thing. I believe there is some cotton in it. The moths ate the rest of the alpaca pieces.

  12. Thanks! I always enjoy your posts about the various human species you encounter in your travels…and love seeing photos of you!

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