The Beauty of Mexico’s Artisan Markets

ciudadela_mexico

 

No matter where you go in Mexico, you are sure to find some historical artifact or something unique that peaks your interest about the history of Mexico. In May, the Northwestern students studying abroad in Mexico City for Public Health had a weekend long workshop that taught us everything we needed to know about public health in Mexico and the dos and don’ts of living in Mexico. This workshop was essential in our weekend trip to Malinalco, where we aided students from UP Medical School in administering clinical studies on obesity in that community and was funded by a grant given to us by a 100k Strong Fund. While that in itself was such a rewarding experience, that weekend I was able to experience something else: Malinalco’s own Artisan Market. To be quite honest I wasn’t looking for it, I happened to walk straight into it when exploring the small town one day. Ever since that fateful day, however, in which I found that small treasure, I fell in love with Mexico’s artisan markets. I find that Mexico’s history can be perfectly summarized in its wide range of “Mercados artesanales”. Mexico City has hundreds of artisan markets in itself and each and every one of them is filled with history ready to be explored and magical experiences to be had. This past Sunday we went to the Ciudadela, the biggest Artisan Market in Mexico, in my and many people’s opinion. These markets have small shops with almost any trinket, food, candy, silver and jewelry you can think of. Not to mention prices are very negotiable. I mean what’s going to Mexico and not practicing your bargaining skills while you’re at it? What’s unique about Mexico’s markets, however, is that everything is hand made by the people who run the shop. They do not have any corporate connections and if you need to know specifics of what you are buying, you just ask the small shop keeper. What’s even cooler is the uniqueness of each individual shop and shop owner. If I could spend an entire day at an Artisan Market, I would find that it would not be nearly enough time to see everything and learn what each shop keeper has to say. Each shopkeeper has such a rich history in how they made their products and families’ history, it’s worth your time to ask. So, if you’re ever in Mexico City, make sure you check out one of the many artisan markets. I’m sure you’ll come out with a few gifts and stories to tell.