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Chichicastenango is a famous market town in the central highlands of Guatemala. It is located in the El Quiche department of Guatemala; an area which is famed for its traditional Kiche’ Maya culture.
Chichicastenango is popular with tourists due to its twice weekly market which takes place every Thursday and Sunday. On these market days local people from across the region descend on Chichicastenango to sell their various wares. The market starts from dawn and usuaully lasts until around 3pm. The market these days also caters for tourists and there many stall’s selling souvenirs such as masks, paintings and textiles. The market, however, is still widely used for trading goods between local people and the food market is particularly impressive.
The Iglesia de Santo Tomas church built in 1545 and located at the heart of the market, is famous for its mix of Maya and Catholic rituals. The church itself is reknown for its half catholic and half Maya rituals which take place inside the church. Priest still use the church for their rituals, and it is common to see candles and incense burning inside the church. The church has 18 steps leading to it, and these represent the 18 months of the Maya calender.