Chamula, Chiapas a Tzotzil village.
Web gallery by Bob Freund
with particiaption of Karen Elwell and Tom Aleto, Narratives by Karen Elwell 9/2005
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Chamula _rebozo
San Juan Chamula is the administrative and religious center of Chamula Municipio. This large, modern town is only 10 km from San Cristobal, and population growth in both places has created an almost unbroken area of settlement between Chamula and San Cristobal. Chamulans may represent the largest group of indigenous people in the Chiapas highlands. Most Chamulans farm and raise animals and are not wealthy.

Chamula is the indigenous community most often visited by tourists. Some days hundreds arrive, so most local adults treat visitors with indifference. Local kids, however, can be quite aggressive and persistent in trying to separate visitors from their pesos. There is a large Sunday market with smaller daily markets in the central plaza. The markets sell mostly food and utilitarian items. There is a small community museum with examples of local textiles and clothing. On a side street leading away from the municipal buildings is a row of permanent stalls that sell local crafts and textiles.

Most visitors visit the church of San Juan where statues of the saints and virgins are kept and where traditional highland Maya prayer ceremonies take place. No photos are permitted inside the church. Spectacular public religious celebrations are held for Carnaval, Semana Santa and other holidays.