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Title: Chichicastenango  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of places in Guatemala, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, Chichicastenango, Quiché Department
Collection: Chichicastenango, Municipalities of the Quiché Department, Populated Places in Guatemala
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Iglesia de Santo Tomás
Nickname(s): Chichi
Chichicastenango is located in Guatemala
Location in Guatemala
Chichicastenango is located in El Quiché
Country Guatemala
Department El Quiché
Municipality Chichicastenango
 • Type Municipal
 • Municipality 400 km2 (200 sq mi)
Elevation 1,965 m (6,447 ft)
Population (Census 2012)[1]
 • Municipality 152,833
 • Urban 45,549
 • Ethnicities K'iche' people (98.5%),[2] Ladino (1.5%)
 • Religions Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Maya
Climate Cwb
Website Chichicastenango online

Chichicastenango, also known as Santo Tomás Chichicastenango, is a town in the El Quiché department of Guatemala, known for its traditional K'iche' Maya culture. The Spanish conquistadors gave the town its name from the Nahuatl name used by their soldiers from Tlaxcala: Tzitzicaztenanco, or City of Nettles. Its original name was Chaviar.

Chichicastenango serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name.

Chichicastenango is a large indigenous town, lying on the crests of mountaintops at an altitude of 1,965 m (6,447 ft). As of 2012, 98.5% of the municipality's population is indigenous Mayan K'iche. 92% of the municipality's population speaks the K'iche language, with the remaining 8% being monolingual Spanish speakers. 71% of the municipality's population was bilingual, speaking both K'iche and Spanish, and an additional 21% were monolingual K'iche speakers. The K'iche people and language dominate the municipality. [3] It is located about 140 km (87 mi) northwest of Guatemala City.[4]


  • Market 1
    • Church of Santo Tomás 1.1
  • In music 2
  • Geography 3
  • Gallery 4
  • In films 5
    • The New Adventures of Tarzan' (1935) 5.1
  • Geographic location 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Chichicastenango Market

Chichicastenango is well known for its famous market days on Thursdays and Sundays where vendors sell handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, wooden boxes, condiments, medicinal plants, candles, pom and copal (traditional incense), cal (lime stones for preparing tortillas), grindstones, pigs and chickens, machetes, and other tools. In the central part of the market plaza are small eateries (comedores).

Among the items sold are textiles, particularly the women's blouses. The manufacture of masks, used by dancers in traditional dances, such as the Dance of the Conquest, have also made this city well known for woodcarving.

Church of Santo Tomás

Next to the market is the 400-year-old church of Santo Tomás. It is built atop a Pre-Columbian temple platform, and the steps originally leading to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Maya civilization remain venerated. K'iche' Maya priests still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles. In special cases, they burn a chicken for the gods. Each of the 18 stairs that lead up to the church stands for one month of the Maya calendar year. Another key element of Chichicastenango is the Cofradia of Pascual Abaj, which is an ancient carved stone venerated nearby and the Maya priests perform several rituals there. Writing on the stone records the doings of a king named Tohil (Fate).[5]

The Chichicastenango Regional Museum lies in its grounds.

In music

At least three songs have been written about the town.

  • “Chichicastenango” Xavier Cugat 1937
  • "In Chi-Chi Castenango" Edmundo Ros Mambo Jambo: Original Recordings 1941-1950
  • "In the Land of The Maya" Lennie Gallant In the Land of The Maya

In addition, the character Rosie from Bye Bye Birdie sings sarcastically of being the toast of Chichicastenango.


Chichicastenango is composed of the municipal seat and 81 rural communities.[6] Nearby village communities include Paquixic (1.0 nm), Chucam (1.0 nm), Chujupen (1.4 nm), Camanibal (2.2 nm), Chontala (2.2 nm) and Chucojom (1.0 nm).


In films

The New Adventures of Tarzan' (1935)

In 1935, the film Jorge Ubico. The places where the filming was made were:

Geographic location

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ (22 pp) John S. Carroll -p 31Epigraphic Society Occasional Publications, Vol. 17, 1988 A Decipherment of the Chichicastenango Stone
  6. ^ "Santo Tomás Chichicastenango - Plan de Desarrollo Municipal" (PDF). Municipalidad de Chichicastenango. 2002. Retrieved 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Barillas, Edgar (2013). "50 películas filmadas en Guatemala y una que no (1935-1996). Apuntes para una cartografía de los lugares filmados en Guatemala". Revista Historia de la  
  8. ^ a b SEGEPLAN. "Municipios de Quiché, Guatemala". Secretaría General de Planificación y Programación de la Presidencia de la República. Guatemala. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
  • Map with information and pictures of the touristic points of interest in Chichicastenango

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