Visitor's Guide to Cuenca

13/Enero/2011 | 09:03


By Lance Brashear

Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, historically is defined by Conquest.  It was conquered by the Inca´s in 1480, who named it Tomebamba, and then by the Spanish who conquered and renamed it “Santa Ana de los cuatro rios de Cuenca.”   Geographically, Cuenca is delineated by the four rivers that pass through it and around it.  And culturally Cuenca is characterized by its rich history and architecture which prompted its designation as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Here we offer a guide to some of the primary attractions in and around Cuenca.



TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOODS & MARKETS

A. Barrio de las Herrerías:  The neighborhood bares the name of the principal street which runs through it, along which one finds artisans, the plaza de Herrero, the Casa de Chaguarchimbana and The “Artes del Fuego” Museum.

B. Barrio de El Vado: Uphill from Condamine Street this neighborhood overlooks the Tombebamba River.  Here one finds artisan craft workers in paja toquilla (straw hats), embroidery, and tin.

C. Barrio de Todos Santos: Known as the traditional “Barrio de las panaderias” where breads are baked in wood burning stoves.

D. Mercado de las Flores: Flower market and symbol of Cuenca, located next to the Cathedral Church at Sucre & Padre Aguirre

E. Mercado 3 de Noviembre: Coronel Talbot & Mariscal Lamar Streets.  Typical food and groceries

F. Mercado 10 de Agosto: Calle Larga & General Torres.  Food ítems and artisan crafts.

G. Mercado 9 de Octubre: Mariscal Lamar & Hno Miguel.  Food ítems.

MUSEUMS

1. Las Conceptas Museum.  633 Hermano Miguel St.  Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm & 230pm-830pm.  Saturday, 10am-1pm.  Admission $2 adults.

2. Modern Art Museum.  1527 Calle Sucre & Coronel Talbot. Monday 230pm-630pm, Tuesday-Friday 9am-1pm, 230pm-630pm.  Saturday, 10am-1pm.  Admission Free.

3. Native Culture Museum.  Calle Larga 5-24.  Monday-Friday 9am-630pm, Saturday 9am-1pm.  Admission $2 adults.

4. Central Bank Museum. Calle Larga & Av. Huayna Capac.  Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm.  Saturday 8am-1pm.

5. Center of Popular Inter-american Arts (CIDAP). Calle Hermano Miguel 3-23 & La Escalinata.  Monday-Friday 930am-130pm & 2pm-6pm.  Saturdays 10-1pm.

6. Casa de la Cultura Museum. Calle Sucre & Benigno Malo.  Monday-Friday 8am-1pm & 3pm-6pm.

7. Museum of Metal.  Avenue Solano No. 11-83.  Monday-Friday 10am-12pm & 3pm-5pm.

8. Museum of Medical History, Guillermo Aguilar Maldonado.  Av. 12 de abril, between Military Hospital and la Conferencia San Vicente de Paul.  Monday-Friday 9am-12pm & 1pm-5pm.

9. Museum Remigio Crespo Toral.  Calla Larga 7-25 & Borrero.  Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm.

10. Museum Manuel Agustín Landívar. Calle Larga 2-23 & Manuel Vega.  Monday-Friday 8am-1pm & 3pm-6pm.

11. Straw Hat Museum & Workshop.  Calle Larga 10-41 between General Torres & Padre Aguirre.  Monday-Friday 9am-6pm.  Saturday 9am-430pm.

12. La Esquina de Las Artes (Art Corner). El Barranco, Av. 12 de abril & Agustin Cueva.  Monday-Saturday 10am-730pm.  Sunday 10am-2pm.  Live Music and Dance Saturday 5pm-6pm.

PLAZAS & PARKS

13. Abdón Calderón Park: Calles Simon Bolívar, Mariscal Sucre, Benigno Malo, and Presidente Cordova.

14. San Fransisco Plaza. Known as Plaza de la Feria, it is the central plaza for the sale of weavings.  Located along Presidente Córdova between Padre Aguirre and General Torres.

15. San Blas Park: Located on the east end of Calle Sucre around the San Blas Church.

16. El Rollo Plazoleta: Located in the El Vecino neighborhood.  One of the oldest in the city where public executions were held.  The “Picota,  the symbol of Spanish justice, still stands today.

17. San Sebastian Park: Surrounds the Modern Art Museum and borders the San Sebastian Church.

18. Sangurima Plaza: Known as the Plaza Rotary it is located along Calle Sangurima and is home to artisan craft workers.

19. Parque Maria Auxiliadora: Located along Gaspar Sangurima & General Torres.

20. Plaza Cruz del Vado:  Located along Juan Montalvo & Larga Street it offers a great view of the city.

21. Parque de la Madre:  Located along Tomebamba River and Av. Federico Malo & 23 de abril the park is for recreation and sports.

22. Plaza de las Monjas: Next to the convent and church of the Conceptas, along Presidente Córdova & Presidente Borrero.

23. Victor J. Cuesta Park: Located between Presidente Córdova & Apóstol Cuencano.  A recreation park.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Cuenca Municipal Building.  Simón Bolívar & Borrero Streets

Casa de las Posadas.  Gran Colombia 17-44 & Manuel Heredia

Casa de Chahuarchimbana.  Calle de las Herrerías & Artes del Fuego

Superior Court of Justice. Sucre & Luis Cordero Streets.

Colegio Benigno Malo. Av. Fray Vicente Solano & Daniel Córdova

Casa Cordero. Luis Cordero 10-64 & Gran Colombia

Salón del Pueblo.  Sucre Street between Benigno Malo & Padre Aguirre.

Casa de las Palomas.  Benigno Malo 6-40 & Jaramillo

Casa de los Canónigos.  Luis Cordero between Sucre & Bolívar

Colegio Febres Cordero.  Gran Colombia 6-54 between Borrero & Hermano Miguel.

CHURCHES

Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion (Catedral Nueva).  Calle Benigno Malo & Sucre.

Iglesia de El Sagrario (Catedral Vieja). Calle Sucre & Luis Cordero

Carmen de la Asuncion. Calle Sucre & Padre Aguirre

San Fransisco Church. Calle Presidente Córdova & Padre Aguirre

Todos Santos Church. Calle Larga & Vargas Machuca

San Blas Church. Calle Manuel Vega & Simón Bolívar

Santo Domingo Church. Gran Colombia & Padre Aguirre

Las Conceptas Church.  Presidente Córdova & Antonio Borrero

San Sebastian Church. Bolívar & Coronel Talbot Streets

San Alfonso Church. Simón Bolívar & Presidente Borrero Streets.

OUTSIDE OF CUENCA

Cajas National Park: 19 miles northwest, camping, fishing, hiking.

Ingapirca: Incan ruins south of Cuenca.

Gualaceo: 22 miles south, renowned for handicrafts and folklore.

Chordeleg:  Pre-Incan town near Gualaceo, known for archealogy and woven goods.

Cojitambo: 30 miles from Cuenca, home to Cañari archealogical ruins.


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