Take a visit to the Mercado de Hechecería, or The Witches’ Market in La Paz, Bolivia. But be prepared for what you will find.
We stepped inside one of the stores to get a closer look. Note: this is serious, sacred business to the people who shop and work here, and irony-seeking tourists aren’t exactly appreciated. But after we made a “contribution”, the elderly owner of the store, Dominga, agreed to answer our questions and let us take pictures of her wares. Of course, we went straight to the dead baby llamas; their hollow eyes and ghastly, grimaced mouths beckoned us. The rows and rows of llama corpses, in stages of development ranging from fetus to toddler, are by far the most disturbing image in the Witches’ Market. Dominga explained that burning these corpses is a powerful way to bless a home, or improve a sick person’s health. Sometimes, they’re buried underneath the lot of a new house. The llamas are what most tourists stop to take pictures of, and Dominga seemed to disapprove of our morbid fascination with them. She directed our attention to other, more cheerful items.
See some of those cheerful items, but be aware that there are pictures of the llamas as well at For 91 Days. Link