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SANTIAGO

Santiago Founded in 1547 at the foot of the Toliman volcano, this is the largest town with a population over 32,000, about 95% indigenous of Tz'utujil descent. Livelihoods include fishing, farming and making Cayucos (local canoes). Artisans specialize in painting, woodwork and weaving textiles. The stunning men's pants and women's huipiles are woven and then beautifully embroidered with birds. Some of the older women still wear the traditional tocoyal, an 8 meter length of red fabric wound round their head like a halo. Santiago is home to one of the three "original" Maximon characters, a pagan deity or god who receives offerings of alcohol and cigars. The market is held in the streets on Fridays and Sundays. The people of Santiago suffered terribly during the country's 36-year civil war, while hurricane Stan in October 2005 brought a mudslide which destroyed the nearby village of Panabaj.

 

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