Tarabuco, a real Christmas market

‘Twas the Sunday before Xmas and there was only one place to go when in need of some last minute Xmas gifts or a fascinating insight into life in rural Bolivia: Tarabuco.

The market in Tarabuco is legendary in Bolivia for its superb weavings produced by the predominately Quechua speaking indigenous population. We have several beautiful Tarabuco weavings in the house, but it is possible to find many more wondrous items to fill those Xmas stockings.

Tarabuco is a small village nestling amongst a beautiful mountainous landscape some 65km from Sucre. This alone would be reason to visit, but it is also the epicentre of the region’s famous weavings, all still done by hand on wooden looms with skills and unique designs passed down from generation-to-generation.

Tarabuco and the surrounding region is home to a unique Bolivian culture, and one that fought fiercely to retain its identity, first against the Inca empire and again against the colonising Spanish. Both empires sought to subjugate the local Chiriguano tribes, and both struggled to quash the fierce resistance of the Chiriguano. The main plaza has a gruesome statue commemorating a famous victory (one of the few) over the Spanish – complete with a heart freshly ripped from the body of a Spanish soldier.

Statue commemorating a famous victory over the Spanish, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Statue commemorating a famous victory over the Spanish, Tarabuco, Bolivia

Once you’ve recovered from the shock of that, it is time for some serious shopping…don’t forget to negotiate.

Weavings, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Weavings, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Handmade dolls in traditional costumes, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Handmade dolls in traditional costumes, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Gourds with nativity scene, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Gourds with nativity scene, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Strings of coloured sweets, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Strings of coloured sweets, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Xmas hats? Tarabuco, Bolivia
Xmas hats? Tarabuco, Bolivia
Piggy bank and animal gourds, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Piggy bank and animal gourds, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Handmade dolls wearing traditional costumes, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Handmade dolls wearing traditional costumes, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Sandals made from recycled tyres, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Sandals made from recycled tyres, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Traditional fiesta masks, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Traditional fiesta masks, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Jewellery, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Jewellery, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Weavings, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Weavings, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Llama wool, Tarabuco, Bolivia
Llama wool, Tarabuco, Bolivia

2 thoughts on “Tarabuco, a real Christmas market

  1. It’s such a feast for the eyes! I can understand their need for wondrous colour too 🙂 Their designs are fantastic and inspiring.

    1. Most of the year the landscape is brown and the only colour is the fantastic clothes people wear – it is such a sharp contrast with the gruelling lives people have in the countryside here.

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