In Potosi: Cayara Hotel, 400 years of history

Alejandra Pau writes for Pagina Siete:

Its five courtyards, dozens of corridors and hallways, its Chapel and rooms have passed families of the nobility and prominent figures in the history of the Alto Peru [colonial name of current Bolivia, the high Peru] and Bolivia during no less than four centuries.

Hacienda Cayara is almost hidden in a Valley, just over 30 minutes of journey from the city of Potosí. The impressive infrastructure currently houses a hotel Museum, in addition to being a great choice to escape the routine, afforded the opportunity to experience a revealing adventure.

Cayara was inaugurated in 1557 is one of the oldest habitable houses in Bolivia; his mystical is such that begins even in the route, before you arrive. As one approaches, the high platoon landscape is transformed into a Valley full of crops, weeping willows and varied vegetation.

After crossing a very old bridge, also called Cayara, the access of this property located at 3,550 meters [above sea level]. In the first courtyard, a huge pine tree leaves swaying in the wind of a not very sunny afternoon.

Viceroys and marquises

Thanks to the original titles given by King Felipe II of Spain, it is known the exact antiquity and history of the building. Its first owner was Don Juan de Pendones.

It is known also, thanks to these documents, at the beginning of his mandate, the viceroy Francisco de Toledo, one of the most controversial figures of Peruvian colonial history, arrived at the hacienda from where he distributed mercury to the miners.

Cayara later belonged to the marquises of Otavi, whose family coat of arms is still in the first courtyard and other settings. In 1905 it was acquired by Louis Soux, Patriarch of the Aitken family, which still administers [the place].

Art and memory

“Under this roof the nobility nest, rest and sweet goods invites”, reads a phrase located on a wall next to the entrance to the second courtyard. Upon entering the main hall, a huge mural that covers the ceiling – which represents the five continents and the four seasons of the year – gives clear indication of the enormous value of this old House.

Access to the dining room and its adjoining halls, while the ancient wooden floor has with each footstep, discovered paintings are related to the Spanish royalty and religious art of different styles.

A painting of San Marcos Evangelist, work of Melchor Pérez Holguín, wears a slightly translucent devil that, according to tradition, will show a smile or will be sad, depending on how it had behaved those who observed him.

“The most valuable painting in the Hacienda [Estate] dates from 1624 and was painted by Juan de Arellano; is called the Garland of flowers, is the Flemish school and is among the first civilian paintings that came to America,” explains Arturo Leytón, grandson of Soux and host of the Hacienda.

Adjacent to the main room spaces were retained as they looked when they were occupied by the marquises doña Dominga Palomo de Santa María and Aquiles Riccioti Bargueños; the comfortable and elegant furniture reflect the ostentatious noble past of the place.

Across the main house, a library holds approximately 6,000 old books, among them many treasures as an allegorical auto sacramental written by Pedro Calderón de la Barca in 1532, or a French collection in the works of Voltaire, published in 1805.

in the same library, there is a door which accesses the room in which the Marshal of Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre, stayed in 1825, when the Royalist army – commanded by Olañeta – was still in Potosí.

More treasures

Antique coins, clothing from Potosi women of yesteryear – when their belts and shoes had threads and inlaid of gold and silver, a cross of Alabaster made in Turkey and a vase of seashells from the former Czechoslovakia, are some of the relics of that thriving era of the Villa Imperial of Charles V, which are still alive in Cayara.

This Museum hotel can accommodate 40 people; It has from luxurious suites to triple rooms. In addition, there are ambience available for different social events. For several decades, the Hacienda also produces a variety of dairy products that are marketed in Potosí.

Next to Cayara is a very old church and is in full restoration. There, beneath the altar and almost always at dim light, are the tombs of the marquises of Otavi, Soux family and Aitken.

“Every object is part of the memory of the place and the history of Bolivia.” “From the time when Potosí was the center of the world”, recounts Leytón.

Without further due, Cayara belongs to The Hall of Bolivian Fame

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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