The Chinchero Market in Sacred Valley

At an altitude of 3,762 meters above sea level, higher than Cusco, lies the small rural town of Chinchero in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Though lesser-known to mass tourism, Chinchero offers several attractions, including Inca ruins and megalithic remains. The real highlight, however, is the Chinchero Market, renowned for its exquisite Peruvian fabrics typical of this region.

Historical Significance

Chinchero is rich in historical evidence, with Inca ruins scattered throughout the town. Notable among these is an ancient throne adorned with intricate bas-reliefs. Tradition holds that Inca Tupac Yupanqui, son of Pachacutec, used Chinchero as a countryside retreat.

He commissioned the construction of aqueducts and terraces, many of which are still in use today, making Chinchero’s soil among the most fertile in the Sacred Valley. This fertile land produces potatoes, olluco, goose, quinoa, and broad beans, which are sold at the local Chinchero Market.

The Church of Chinchero

The church in Chinchero, built by the Spaniards in 1607, stands on the remains of an ancient Inca palace, possibly the summer residence of the Inca. The architecture blends traditional Andalusian motifs with Inca elements, creating a unique historical landmark.

The Fabrics of Chinchero

Chinchero is recognized as the center of weaving in Peru and hosts the Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles. The weaving activity is predominantly female, and local women frequently demonstrate this ancient art to tourists, showcasing how different colors are mixed.

At the textile cooperative, visitors can observe the process of washing, drying, and spinning alpaca wool to create clothing. These demonstrations are free, though tips are appreciated, and visitors are often offered mate de coca to enjoy during the presentation.

The Vibrant Chinchero Market

The Chinchero Market in Sacred Valley

The Chinchero Market is a vibrant, colorful place full of life. Unlike the more famous Pisac Market, which is heavily touristic, the Chinchero Market retains an authentic charm. It is held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays, with Sunday being the busiest day. On this day, inhabitants from neighboring villages come to Chinchero to sell a variety of goods, from crafts to agricultural products.

How to Reach the Chinchero Market?

The Chinchero Market is located about 40 minutes from Cusco. Collective buses connecting Urubamba and Ollantaytambo can stop at Chinchero upon request. Most individual tours of the Sacred Valley include a stop in Chinchero, while only some group tours do. Entry to the village is regulated by the Cusco Tourist Ticket.

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