Ecuador: Indigenous Market, Inca Ruins, and Cuenca

26 Sep

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Crater Lake, Quilotoa. Approximately 3900 meters above sea level. We got headaches from the lower oxygen level. An absolutely magnificent view. I’m sure I have done it no justice with this photo.

We’ve now been in Ecuador for two and a half weeks. It feels like we’ve been here so much longer!

In looking back at the images I’ve taken in the past week – I feel like I have three separate places/events that I want to share.

The first stop is a famous Indigenous Market in Guamote, which happens every Thursday. We arrived in the morning by bus and walked up and down the streets, gawking at the vendors and their products. I’m sure we stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the crowd of Ecuadorians, dressed in their traditional indigenous clothing – all there for the purpose of buying or selling. I hired a tailor to sew an Ecuadorian patch on my backpack. He used a foot pumped sewing machine that I’m certain would be sold as an antique in Orillia! I doubt the patch is going anywhere.

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The next place we visited was Ingapirca – the location of an ancient Incan and Cañari ceremonial and political structure. 500 years ago, the Inca’s travelled from Peru into current day Ecuador. They encountered a people known as the Cañaris, with whom they strategized a co-existing relationship.

Forgive me if my facts are a little off – But here’s what I gathered from the short tour – I found it incredibly fascinating (call me a nerd.)

The Inca’s and the Cañari’s had some very important differences in culture and worship. The Inca’s worshipped the sun as their god. The Cañari’s, the moon. The Inca’s were lead by male leaders, and the Cañari’s were a matriarchal culture and society. The Inca Pirca structure was built as an important political and religious common ground, which allowed both cultures to practice their own faiths, together. The symbolism within the structure goes far beyond this blog post – but it was amazing to touch stones laid 500 years earlier – and to learn of the practices of the two cultures. While the Inca’s are notorious for being a violent and ruthless people, their method for domination was not always through war. As time progressed, the Inca’s quality of living would rise above the Cañari’s, and they would eventually go as far as bringing Cañary men back to Peru to work as slaves on their now famous ancient structures, such as Machu Picchu.

Ingapirca was eventually abandoned, due to a civil war that broke out between two Inca Kings. The main structure that stands out higher than the rest was later discovered by an explorer in the 1700’s. The rest of the stone foundation was not uncovered until the 1970’s.

The fields surrounding the two temples are now spotted with alpacas, goats and pigs.

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For the past couple days, we have been in the wonderful city of Cuenca. I think it is safe to say this is my favourite big city we have visited here in Ecuador. It’s colonial streets are cobble stone, and lead to many tasty foreign restaurants (and finally a decent cup of coffee!) There are many large catholic churches boasting beautiful architecture, carvings and paintings. One church Lydia and I visited was built in the 1530’s! It is all wood inside, but made to look like stone. I stood and stared at a painting that was made in the 1570’s.

A newer church was built in the 1700’s, to take the place of the older one, and it also has a stunning exterior and interior.

Cuenca is a relatively popular place for North American’s to retire, and it has been a great place to relax, eat some great food, and get rejuvenated for more backpack lugging.

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Oh yes, and I should mention that the ‘Panama Hat’ actually originated, and is manufactured in Ecuador. The misleading name was acquired due to the fact that they have always been shipped internationally from Panama. Most of the hats are made here in Cuenca. Quite an interesting process as well – but I’ve babbled on long enough!

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American-Retiree-Cuenca-Ecuador.jpgThis is Bob. He’s from the U.S. He plays grand piano at a hotel here in Cuenca, and says Cuenca is the best city in the world. I’m a little skeptical about this, so I’m going to keep looking ;D

Thanks for checking out my photography, I hope it inspires you to experience more of this big planet!

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7 Responses to “Ecuador: Indigenous Market, Inca Ruins, and Cuenca”

  1. Jesse September 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Nice shots man! They’re really telling the story. I SO have to do something like this!

  2. Kristine Basaraba September 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Well done Cole. Thanks for sharing your talent and trip with us and keeping us in the loop. Missing you all!

  3. Nancy November 19, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Great photos. I really enjoyed looking at your work. I’d love to know more about where each of the photos was taken. Beautiful!!!!

  4. Adalberto November 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    it is so great my friend, I enjoy all your pictures

  5. Adalberto November 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    I shared with a friend about your pictures, she is a painter and loves the latinamerican cultures, she was interested to see your work here. God bless you.

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