At the Otavalo Market Ecuador, every Saturday at dawn. Men and woman arrive at this place. Men, with their white trousers and long braids and women, with beautifully embroidered blouses, skirt, blue shawl, golden necklaces and bracelets of red mullets. Begin to set up in each position their products for sale. The fair also extends to the surrounding streets. The Otavalo market open fair takes place all year round except that the rest of the week, Otavalo Market is smaller.
Visitors can walk in the middle of thousands of tapestries, ponchos, thick hand-woven wool bags, hats, gloves, scarves, embroidered blouses, the famous belts used as belts by the natives, shigras, dresses and much more, all this colorful product are mostly made with wool, cotton or alpaca fibers.
Due to the variety of it´s local and regional handicrafts, European and North American buyers compare it with the Artisan Market of Pisac, in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco-Peru.
According to artisans, foreigners buy their work because they are made 100 percent by hand. “The tapestries and the ponchos are sold very quickly for the quality in their elaboration and the artistic details that we print”, says Manuel, owner of one of the shops of the place.
This market is managed by indigenous Otavaleños. The clothing is made by independent artisans of the city and several surrounding communities, such as Taxopamba, La Joya, Quichinche, Selva Alegre or Apuela y Agato.
Otavalo Market Ecuador Prices
The prices are a plus at the Otavalo Market. The ponchos cost from 10 dollars to 35; the hammocks, between 25 and 35 dollars; the shigras, between 8 and 35 dollars. scarfs are the main products of the square and cost between 3 to 7 dollars depending on the fiber they are made of.
“It’s beautiful, very beautiful. We like Otavalo, “said Linda Walston, an English tourist, after buying a $ 25 wallet.
In addition to wool and cotton products, the market offers other lines such as ceramics, jewelry, embroidery and other applications, among them the handcrafted chess boards, which have been elaborated based on pine, mahogany and cypress wood.
“The chess that calls most attention to tourists is the one that shows the rivalry between Indians and Spaniards, thus recalling the wars that took place during the conquest,” said Fabian Andrango, after selling a board to a French tourist for 35 dollars.
In the same way, it happens with paintings. Canvases of the “Taita” Imbabura volcano, the “Sun God” and the alpaca wool carpets, which are easily bought in the square, its approximate cost ranges between 150 and 200 dollars, depending on the size.
Otavalo Market Ecuador Visitors
Every weekend an average of eight to ten thousand visitors are received at the Otavalo Market, “not only in the Plaza de Los Ponchos but to all the attractions of the city. On holidays, Ecuadorians visit this Market in large numbers.
Andrango says, that due to the large number of tourists and to benefit the producers on the intermediaries, the city’s mayor is doing feasibility studies for the ordering and readjustment of the Plaza de Los Ponchos, “as well as the design of the model of management of the second stage of the craft marketing center, “he said.
Otavalo Market Ecuador Facts
The current structure of the Plaza de los Ponchos was designed in 1972, with funding from the Dutch government and with the support of the Institute of Anthropology. In this year, the Dutch architect Tony Swollo, designed the new Plaza de Ponchos, more organized and with a better image, since then, many of the merchants no longer attended only on Saturdays, but it became a daily fair.
However, it´s history is tens of years old. It originated in 1870, when former President Gabriel García Moreno decreed that on Sundays the crafts of Otavalo could be sold in this place.
This place, in its beginnings, provided a space for sport, especially for the game of the hand ball, while many men and women from the different communities would put on display their work in wool and other products of the land.
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Source: Andean Adventures