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ADDRESS & ACTIVITIES
ADDRESS OR VENUE
OPENING HOURS (or DATE if it is an event)
Lazaretto road, Bellavista, Cuenca City, Ecuador
Open every day
ATTENDING COMMERCIAL EVENTS
Lazareto, a community in the Bellavista neighborhood, linked to the history of a leper hospital. It is located in the north of Cuenca, between the hill of Cullca and the Milchichig River.
The traditional weaving of the toquilla straw hat, Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is part of Lazareto's handicraft activity. A family company that exports the garment is based there, with an important monthly production that it sends to 11 countries. The most direct experience for the tourists who come to the place is to enter the houses of the neighbors accompanied by a guide to admire the work of weaving. Weavers acquire the raw material in the Park of Maria Auxiliadora, a very close sector. The techniques are transmitted to the children at home, through observation and imitation. For this neighbourhood, which perpetuates tradition, this is a feature of its identity and a component of its cultural heritage.
The toquilla straw hat is made from the fibres of a palm tree that grows on the Ecuadorian coast. The weavers start from the crown and brim of the hat. The duration depends on the quality and fineness.
Near Lazareto is the hill of Cullca. Sister elevation to the hill of Turi to the south. Scenic viewpoint of the city from which pictures can be taken. Nearby infrastructures are the Catholic Chapel of the Virgen de Tránsito of the Dominican order, the Catholic University, Zenón Park, Lazareto's courts and a small place called "La Casa del Sombrero" (The House of the Hat) dedicated to the promotion of the toquilla straw hat.
Mariano Estrella promoted the construction of a leprocomio in the 19th century. He chose a place in the Milchichig ravine which was estimated to be far from Cuenca. Four Dominican nuns arrived on July 14, 1889, to attend to 50 patients. Today the hospital is called "Mariano Estrella". With the passing of the years the lazaretto disappeared, the city grew and integrated it into its urban development. The nosocomial became the identity of the place.