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.

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