Sunday is the day, the best day, although the other days are not bad. The whole week has its charm. Of course, if you had to make a list that goes from the best to the worst, Tuesday and Thursday would dispute the first place to that day in which, according to Christians, the Creator took a deserved and profitable break, then to undertake the arduous task of giving shape to the world and to all its creatures.
But beyond the mention of the Almighty, religiosity is not the main reason for Sunday preference, despite the fact that there is a mass in the temple, with a sermon in Quechua and with the varayocs (the communal authorities) among the parishioners. That is important, but the fundamental thing happens outside the temple, there in the plaza, there in the streets of that old town where today it is sold, bought and even exchanged a bit.
Sunday of the Andean market, popular, traditional and artisanal in the urban area of Pisac, not in the archaeological park that is above, with its platforms sculpted in the mountain and a sector called “Intihuatana”, as in Machu Picchu, although in Machu Picchu, there is that to say it in passing and like who does not want, there is not – neither inside nor outside the wonder of the world – a similar fair nor with so many historical roots.
One to zero. Advantage for this district of the province of Urubamba that is part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Due to its proximity to Cusco (32 kilometers) and its altitude that does not result in soroche or altitude sickness (2950 meters above sea level), visiting it is not a complicated task, nor is it easy to walk it and not shake on any Sunday. The best day, but not the only day of fair and market. Tuesday and Thursday are also, although it is different.
There are fewer positions and vendors, less people and products. In conclusion, there is less of everything, although that less is not synonymous with little. And is that on Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a lot of crafts (mantles, ceramics, chullos, sweaters and alpaca fiber shawls, handbags, purses, sculptures of saints and angels, paintings inspired by Cusco, earrings, bracelets, china with Andean motifs), but not so many agricultural products.
And that is the essence, the root, the seed of this market that goes back to the time of the ancestors. Pisac was from the time of the Sons of the Sun a fertile land. The Mamapacha generously rewarded the effort of the peasants with excellent harvests. They took care of her, paid her tribute and even made her rest, so that she regains her strength.
Agricultural wisdom, sustainability, understanding with nature on an open-air market Sunday, with small poles armed with sticks, with sacks and blankets that stretch out on the floor, to show varieties of potato, oca, olluco, corn several sizes and colors, of “rocotos” and peppers that make you cry, of guinea pigs and that dried llama meat known as charqui, also of coca leaves to chew (chew), prepare mates or put them on your forehead to avoid Headaches.
So much to see and know, to try and photograph in those streets that collapse and end up becoming an anthill. And there go the “comuneros” from different locations with their ponchos, their “chullos” and their “ojotas”. And the “comuneras” with their braids, their multiple skirts and their guaguas (babies) well tied around their backs. And the children running, playing, accompanying their parents. That is how they learn their traditions.
A tradition that lasts and remains in the current Pisac, which, unlike the archaeological zone, was urbanized in the second half of the sixteenth century by the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo. What would happen next is what we see today. Its square and its streets would progressively become a market and a fair, but always on Sunday, although not only on Sunday. Also on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
En route: The visit to Pisac is included in the tours in Peru that take travelers to know the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Attractiveness: In the Andean towns, the permanent or weekly fairs and markets are spaces of great interest, to know the biodiversity of products that are offered and taste some regional dishes.
Tip: In Cusco the market of San Pedro is visited by many tourists.