Mercado de Hechicería

Mercado de Hechicería information

Location
La Paz , Bolivia
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The city’s most unusual market lies along Calles Jiménez and Linares between Sagárnaga and Santa Cruz, amid lively tourist artesanías (stores selling locally handcrafted items). What is on sale isn’t witchcraft as depicted in horror films and Halloween tales; the merchandise is herbal and folk remedies, plus a few more unorthodox ingredients intended to manipulate and supplicate the various malevolent and benevolent spirits of the Aymará world. An example of these types of ingredients is dried toucan beaks, intended to cure ills and protect supplicants from bad spirits.

If you’re building a new house you can buy a llama fetus to bury beneath the cornerstone as a cha’lla (offering) to Pachamama (Mother Earth), encouraging her to inspire good luck therein. If someone is feeling ill or is being pestered by unwelcome or bothersome spooks, they can purchase a plateful of colorful herbs, seeds and assorted critter parts to remedy the problem. As you pass the market stalls, watch for wandering yatiris (witch doctors), who wear dark hats and carry coca pouches, and offer (mainly to locals) fortune-telling services.

Inquiries and photographs taken here may be met with unpleasantness – ask politely first.