The Crafts Market of Puebla: El Parian

Things to Do, What's New — By Vica Amuchastegui on February 25, 2011 at 1:19 am

The word “Parian” comes from the Tagalog, the language spoken by the Philippines, and means Market. Due to the Manila galleon that had trades with Mexico between the 16th and 19th Centuries, many words from Nahuatl were introduced to Tagalog, and vice versa.

El Parian is the most popular and typical market of the city, and it’s a must for tourists, since this is the best place to buy crafts. But originally, this market wasn’t planned for crafts but for food.

Around 1714, what now is the Zocalo, was a plaza that was slowly being filled with stalls. This became the economic center of the city, and the plaza soon was a market all together, but it was insalubrious for the city, as well as dangerous since at that time there was no conception of safety. The plaza had become a dirty and dangerous place, and the concerns were that this was in the center of the city.

All this was proven in 1796 when a fire destroyed most of the stalls and dozens of people were hurt. The government decided to move the market further away, to avoid this kind of hazard affected the residences and the Cathedral. The construction of the new market began in 1801, and was planed by Antonio Inchaurregui, the same architected that planed the famous Casa del Alfeñique, in front of the market.

Casa del Alfeñique

The full installment of the stalls in the new market was hard, people were resilient about leaving the Zocalo, believing the maids weren’t gonna walk so far. But by 1854 the market was completed and completely occupied.

During the 20th Century, the Victoria Market became the main market in the city, and being closer to the Zocalo, the Parian was soon consigned to oblivion. The government later decided to turn the market into a craft market, to attract more tourists.

The Poblano Baroque market consists on two parallel rows of stalls built with bricks and talavera. Each stall is an explosion of colors, forms, smells and sensations. In el Parian you can find talavera pieces, onyx and typical mexican toys and candies, mexican clothing, sombreros, tequila, mole, wooden crafts and much much more.

They say first impression is never forgotten, and in this case, is so much what you see, above you, in front of you and next to you, the first impression is surly to stay with you for ever. So when you’re in Puebla, don’t forget to visit El Parian, and enjoy all that you will find.

[photos courtesy of Vica Amuchastegui]

Tags: "Puebla", Crafts, Market, Parian, Talavera


  • Berniemack Arellano says:

    Now this is interesting indeed. For all along, I thought the “Parian” was just at Ciudad de México, but it also went to Puebla. Another interesting note was that of “China Poblana,” a legend that is known in Puebla.

    I have no idea if the Mexicans of today are aware of some influences that the Filipinos brought to Mexico but in our case, we thought it was Madre España who influenced the 333 years of colonial rule here in the Philippines–but we don’t have a direct contact with Spain until sometime in the 1820s already!

    The Parian mostly refers to Chinese districts during the Spanish colonial era. Notably, the one in Manila, Cebu and another one in Iloilo (now Molo). They were centers of mercantile trade between the natives of the islands, their colonial masters and the Chinese.

    Here’s also an interesting fact, open-air or cheap bazaars and small stores are called here as “tyange” which is similar to the “tiangguis” of México.


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