Saturday, November 26, 2011
Puebla Part 12: Puebla's open-air markets
Barrio del Artista
once the site of textile mills, but in 1941 it was renovated. Fortunately, the architects appreciated the colonial aspects of the area and retained them. One of the most interesting features of this street is the long row of tiny artists' studios. Each of the doors seen above leads into a space not much bigger than a large walk-in closet. In them, the artists paint or sculpt, and meet with customers. Open-air concerts and performances are sometimes hosted in the area in front of the studios.
This dish is one for which Puebla has become famous and consists of chiles stuffed with pork, onion, and garlic, covered in nogada (walnut sauce), and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Chiles en Nogada was invented by the people of Puebla to honor the saint's day (August 28, 1821) of Agustin de Iturbide. He was a Royalist army officer who defected to the insurgent cause near the end of the War of Independence. He was considered a hero at this point, and the Poblanos held a feast for him. All the dishes were in the colors of the new Mexican flag: green (chiles), white (walnut sauce), and red (pomegranate seeds). All this apparently went to Iturbide's head. He proclaimed himself Emperor of Mexico, but he was soon deposed and a republic established. The popularity of Chiles en Nogada has outlasted that of Iturbide by almost 200 years.
Mercado Jardin Analco
The roots of the tianguis go far back into prehispanic history and their ruins have been found in Chichen Itza and other ancient sites. To locate Jardin Analco on a map of Puebla, click here.
an interesting history. Puebla was a city constructed from the ground up by the Spanish, and had no prehispanic history. Nearby Cholula, however, was one of Mesoamerica's greatest and most ancient cities. In 1531, the conquistadors recruited workers from Cholula to build their new city, and gave them the Barrio Analco to live in while the work progressed. The Cholulans divided the neighborhood into sub-units called calpullis according to their clan affiliations. Later, the Spanish brought in workers from Tlaxcala to help, and these took over some of the former Cholulan clan areas. The barrio still retains a geographic layout that reflects these early arrangements.
Chihuahuas are enormously popular in Mexico, and there is evidence that the breed may have originated here. The Toltecs of the 9th Century AD kept dogs called techichis who may have been the progenitors of today's Chichuahuas. Dogs resembling Chihuahuas also appear on artifacts found in the ruins of ancient Cholula and at Chichen Itza, both of which have connections to the earlier Toltecs.
el Parian is permanent, open daily, and almost exclusively sells tourist-oriented crafts. The vendors keep the same stalls on a long-term basis. The term "parian" comes from the Philippines. The word means "market", and was used throughout colonial Nueva España to describe a meeting place for commerce and trade. Spain first visited the Philippines in 1521, claiming it for the Spanish King but not building any settlements until 1565.
Plaza de los Sapos
Plaza de los Sapos. The San Francisco river used to run close by here, and the river banks were full of toads. Later the river was re-channeled, but the memory of the toads remains enshrined in the name. At Plaza de los Sapos permanent antique stores and galleries around the perimeter share space with temporary stalls set up by crafts vendors in the plaza itself.
Mercado La Victoria
Casa Achilles Serdán is located on the right-hand side, about 1/2 way down to the mercado. The house is now a museum dedicated to the Mexican Revolution. The shooting part of the Revolution began with an assault by police and soldiers on the home of Achilles Serdán. He and his brothers were part of the underground movement organized to support Francisco Madero in his effort to oust the dictator Porfirio Diaz. The Serdán brothers were killed to a man and are today heros of the Revolution.
mercado was built in 1914 on property that used to be the garden of the Convento Santo Domingo, located next door (see Puebla Part 11). Designed in the French style with glass and steel, la Victoria soon became the most important mercado in Puebla. Eventually security and sanitation became a problem. Finally, in 1986, the mercado was closed for renovation. In 1994, it reopened and seems to have become very popular with poblanos of all ages.
This completes Part 12 of my Puebla series. The next two postings will feature two ancient sites named Cacaxtla and Xochitepetl, which lie about one hour north of Puebla. Creating this posting was a lot of fun for me and hope you have enjoyed it. If you would like to comment, please do so in the Comments section below, or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim