Cuenca, known as “Santa Ana of the four rivers of Cuenca”, is located in the Austro area of Ecuador in the Province of Azuay. It was declared by Unesco in 1999 as a World Heritage Site. Also known as Athens of Ecuador for its architecture, culture, art, letters and birthplace of many illustrious Ecuadorians.
Cuenca and the entire province of Azuay are famous for their craftsmanship skills, among which one of them and very famous is the toquilla straw weaving, it is said that they use cañaris techniques for the production of vegetable fibers such as cabuya and cotton and with the Today’s new techniques result in the famous toquilla straw hats that are requested internationally. In the Austro area, 90 percent of the production of toquilla straw is concentrated, which is why it went from being an artisanal activity to becoming a World Cultural Heritage in 2012.
The Tourism Foundation of Cuenca has designed a route so that tourists can appreciate the artisanal side that the city offers, this is how on the route we can visit ceramics workshops, which offer a wide variety of styles and designs, as well as making objects utilities such as pots, crockery, etc. Another important stop is the jewelry; mainly the basin is very recognized as one of the best in the country, for its quality, originality and good taste. Skillful goldsmiths, both in Cuenca and its surroundings, produce all kinds of earrings, rings, brooches, bracelets, pendants and chains in silver. And finally we cannot leave aside the crafts made of metal, which is why we will find some blacksmith shops and embossed metal.
Cuenca, as many consider, is the “Treasure of the Andes” and it opens the doors to all its visitors.