San Blas, also known as the artisans’ quarter, is undoubtedly one of the favorite places for travelers to explore the city.
Its narrow cobbled streets, its white painted houses, coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries and small shops, as well as the sympathy of its inhabitants, attract everyone inspiring feelings and passions.
San Blas was the birthplace of well-known artists such as Don Hilario Mendivil (creator of elongated neck imagery), Don Antonio Olave (famous for his images of saints, virgins, child Jesus and archangels) and Don Edilberto Mérida (famous for his creations of clay that portray peasants, musicians, mythological and universal beings).
But the history of this neighborhood is even older. During the time of the Incas it was called Toqocachi, or «Salt cave» and since that time it was inhabited by farmers and artisans. They say that the neighborhood had abundant water from springs, an excellent microclimate and obviously the elevation of the land allowing a wonderful view of the valley of Cusco.
Its urban layout dates back to the Incan timea. Streets like Tandapata, were part of the famous Inca trail towards the east (called Antisuyo). According to historical records, streets such as Atoqsayk’uchi, Chiwanpata and Recoleta were part of the secondary trails.
After the arrival of the Spaniards, the Church of San Blas was built, giving its name to the traditional neighborhood of peculiar streets such as:
• Siete Angelitos (Seven Little Angels), on the right hand side of Carmen Alto street. In the eaves of the second house of this street are painted seven faces of angels, who were sent to paint by order of Blas de Bobadilla, owner of the house.
• Siete Culebras (Seven Snakes) or Amarucata, where are engraved in stone, seven snakes in high relief on the wall of the so-called Yachay Wasi or House of Knowledge.
• Siete Diablitos (Seven Little Demons), which is a narrow and secluded street where, according to the chronicles, the lovers who were tempted by the devil and often returned home with a «Sunday 7», an expression widely used to refer to «not desired situations».
• Toqsayk’uchi, which means «the path of the fox» and refers to a character from the Andean mythology that unites the world above (Hanan Pacha, the world of the gods) with the world below (Kay Pacha, the world of men).
• Siete Ventanas (Seven Windows), whose name comes from the existence of a house on the corner of Alabado street, belonging to the Convent of San Agustín that had 4 large windows and 3 small windows from which it is said that the novices watched the young handsome boys.
San Blas is full of bizarre and funny stories that Casa San Blas Boutique likes to share.
Tocuyeros 556 Cuesta de San Blas, Cusco - Peru
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