For our first tourist-y excursion since we’ve been in Cuenca, Ecuador, we took a trip east of town to three different artisan villages: San Bartolomé, Chordeleg and Gualaceo. This video covers the second town of Chordeleg, Ecuador, which is famous for its miniature ceramics and filigree jewelry.
Be sure to check out our other video from this excursion to San Bartolomé Ecuador (Part 1).
We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful Andean scenery, the picturesque town of Chordeleg, and the interesting people we meet along the way. We’ve also included some Spanish language learning opportunities for you.
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People & Places
Miniature Ceramics in Chordeleg Ecuador
Our first stop in Chordeleg was at a miniature ceramics workshop. This craftsman has been making these figurines and pottery for more than 26 years. He learned the trade from a well known expert in the area.
Like many family trades, this one is also in jeopardy. There used to be a lot of ceramic artisans in Chordeleg, but only a few remain. Just like in San Bartolomé where guitar craftsmanship is taking a backseat to other opportunities in Cuenca and beyond, the same thing is happening to the miniature ceramics family tradition.
Filigree Light Posts in Chordeleg Ecuador
These filigree-style light posts are all over the center of Chordeleg. This is their trademark style for jewelry design as you can see in the photo below.
World’s Largest Earring
This giant filigree style earring is about as tall as Amelia. It’s estimated worth is over $100,000! It was made many years ago as a competition with San Bartolomé, who had already made the world’s largest guitar.
Filigree is a style of jewelry design that uses tiny strands of metal, usually silver or gold. Most of the jewelry we saw in Chordeleg was made from silver filigree.
Amelia in Jewelry Analysis Paralysis
There are over 70 jewelry stores in the tiny village of Chordeleg and most stores have very similar types and styles of jewelry. Our guide, Wilson, introduced us to a shop owner (probably for a cut of sales), but Amelia couldn’t decide. There were just too many things to look at and she felt overwhelmed.
The filigree jewelry and sculptures are truly beautiful. We went on a Sunday so unfortunately, none of the craftsman who make the jewelry were available for a demonstration. We want to go back during the week when the shops are less busy and hopefully a craftsman will be available to show us how they make these amazing designs.
Town Square in Chordeleg Ecuador
It was cloudy all morning during our tour of San Bartolomé and on the drive to Chordeleg, but the sun came out just when we arrived. The square in the center of town was full of beautiful trees and blooming flowers. A lot of people were sitting on benches enjoying the sun and the view.
Church Square in Chordeleg Ecuador
Church was in-service when we arrived and we could hear the people singing inside. The doors were left open, and we saw several dogs running in and out of the church.
Chordeleg is high up in the Andes Mountains at nearly 8,000 feet. The air is crisp and clean, and it feels like you could reach up and touch the clouds.
European Street Corner in Chordeleg Ecuador
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re in South America because so many of the places we’ve visited in Ecuador have such a European feel to them. Looking at this street corner with the flower covered balcony and Spanish architecture, it felt like we were in a Spanish village…and I guess we kind of were.
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We hope you enjoyed our trip to Chordeleg, Ecuador today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.
Spanish Words & Phrases
¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name?
Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
El gusto es mío – The pleasure is mine
¿Se que país viene? – From what country did you come?
Estados Unidos – United States
¿Sí le gusta Cuenca? – Do you like Cuenca?
Pequeña ciudad – Small city
Quinientos mil habitantes – 500,000 inhabitants
Tiene Cuenca – Cuenca has