Cuenca independence celebration brings out the fireworks and Latin America’s best artisans

Nov 2, 2011

Get ready to rumble! The artisans are coming!

For seven days, beginning Mon., Oct. 31, Cuenca will become Ecuador’s party central as the city celebrates the 191st anniverary of its independence from Spain.

Although the nightly concerts and fireworks shows will make the most noise, the centerpiece of the celebration has always been the hundreds of artists and craftsmen who come to town to display and peddle their work in a dozen art fairs.

Among participants are artisans from Cuenca’s sister cities, Cuzco, Peru, Cuenca, Spain, and Havana, Cuba. The Cuzco contingent is usually the largest during the holidays, in part because of cultural ties between Cuenca and Cuzco dating to the Incan Empire. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the city of Tomebamba –today's Cuenca– was being rebuilt to serve as the empire's northern capital.

Among the crafts for sale will be jewelry, leather work, textiles, pottery, wood carvings and sculpture.

Although most artisans are from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, half a dozen other Latin American countries will also be represented.

The major crafts fair are at CIDAP (The Inter-American Folk Arts and Crafts Association) on Tres de Noviembre at the Escalinatas; in Parque de la Madre; La Esquina de la Artest on Doce de Abril; Plazoleta del Farol on Doce de Abril just west of University of Cuenca; the Broken Bridge on Tres de Noviembre; Centro Chaguarchimbana on
Calle de las Herrerias; and the Otorongo Plaza.

Photo: Members of Cuzco, Perú's artisans association, prepare for their annual trip to Cuenca. 

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