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    Land of winds > The land > Geography | Issue 15 (Jul.-Aug. 2013)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza



Aiquile is the capital city of the province of Campero, which is situated on the southeaster most part of the department of Cochabamba (Bolivia), 217 km to the southeast of the city of Cochabamba, right in the middle of the country. Its original Aymara name might have been Akiri or Jark'iri, terms that are locally translated (and not always in the right way), as "place of religious rituals" and "staying post", respectively.

The town lies at and altitude of 2.250 mts, among the rivers Santa Ana and San Juan, amidst the high mountains of the Andean Eastern Cordillera. The environment is dry and with scarce vegetation: native pastures (tolas, kiñis, chilcas) provide grazing, and the arid land, with very little water, is used to grow corn, wheat, oats, potatoes, vegetables and some fruit trees.


Aiquile is located in the Quechua-speaking region of Bolivia: the majority of its population is Quechua-speaking, about 50% are monolingual in Quechua, and 35% bilingual in Quechua and Spanish. According to archaeological evidence, this region was home to agro-potter communities during the Formative Period (2500-1500 B.C.), and was later populated by the Mojocoya culture (200-800 A.D.), followed by the Yampara chiefdom (800-1400 A.D.). During the colonial period, it was the crossroads of trade between the north, the mining regions of Potosí to the south and the farming areas of the yungas to the east. In 1616 the priests from the neighbouring town of Mizque founded San Pedro de Aiquile; ever since, and until quite recently, the life in Aiquile has, in one way or another, remained attached to that of Mizque.


The town is famous for the manufacturing of charangos, and it is here where the Feria y Festival Nacional del Charango (International Charango Fair and Festival) takes place in the frame of the celebration of All Saints. Since 1998 Aiquile also houses the Museo Nacional del Charango (National Charango Museum, linked to the Local Archaeological Museum). Local festivities include All Saints Festival, the kjochis (also held in November), the Virgin of the Candelaria (the patron saint of the town, on the 2nd of February) and the Carnival.

Another place of interest in Aiquile's surrounding region is the Área Natural de Lagar Pampa, which is worth paying a visit for its enchanting landscape.

Aiquile, in Wikipedia [es].
Website of the Honorable Alcaldía de Aiquile [es].
Article. "Municipio Aiquile", in AMDECO [es].

Picture 01. Aerial picture of Aiquile.
Picture 02. Old musicians in Aiquile.
Picture 03. Sunday street market in Aiquile.

Picture A | Picture B | Picture C

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