|Audelino Gutiérrez, whose sold in Pasaje Rivas for 60 years, and his son Fernando.|
|Luz Marina has had her stand at the Pasaje's |
south entrance for 17 years.
Today, Bogotá is full of 'centro comerciales,' many of them lacking any character or personality. But all of them owe a historical debt to the Pasaje Rivas, the pioneer in their industry.
The Pasaje Rivas, together with two adjoining pasajes added later, forms an 'L', connecting the chaotic and polluted Carrera Decima to the pedestrian-only Calle 10, on the edge of La Candelaria. Its 17 independent businesses, in dark, narrow corridors, sell a mixture of touristy and practical things, including souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing, house decorations and furniture.
And, of course, it has lots of great people, and the sort of human attention you won't find in one of those prefab glass-and-stainless steel malls.
|The pasaje's crowded interior.|
Pasaje Rivas was one of the few institutions in central Bogotá to survive unscathed the disastrous 1948 Bogotazo riots.
In the mid-1900s, the Santa Ines neighborhood to the market's southwest evolved into the notorious El Cartucho district, known for robbery, prostitution and drug sales and use. After FARC guerrillas launched bombs from El Cartucho at the presidential palace during Pres. Alvaro Uribe's 2002 inauguration, the city bulldozed El Cartucho and replaced it with the existing Tercer Milenio Park.
|Audelino Gutiérrez displays some ruanas.|
Pasaje Rivas, with its colorful mixture of offerings, seems to have changed much less.
Audelino's son Fernando, 40, says that despite all of the changes around it, the Pasaje Rivas has held its place.
"What we sell here is unique," he said.
Audelino Gutiérrez, aged 80, has sold furniture, fabrics, hammocks, traditional kitchen equipment and furniture in Pasaje Rivas for 60 years. The market's survival has always been a struggle to survive, he says - but it has survived.
"Here, we survive on basic sales," he said. "But we survive."
He showed me a guillotine for cutting panela, a bandeja for preparing patacones and dishes for
|The view from the second floor.|
Gutiérrez also showed me ruanas, simple wool ponchose which have come to symbolize the Colombian of modest means - just the sort of local people who shop in the Pasaje Rivas.
|Audelino Gutiérrez offers hats.|
|A plaque placed by the city this week.|
|One of the pasaje's larger stores.|
|The Pasaje Rivas's south entrance, on Calle Diez.|
|The Pasaje's western entrance, on Carrera Decima.|
|Cane baskets for sale.|
|...and fake fruits.|
|Views of the chaotic, noisy and polluted Carrera Decima, which should improve when TransMilenio finally starts operating here.|
|Audelino demonstrates a guillotine for cutting panela.|
|and a patacones-maker.|
|Windows of the pasaje's deteriorting second floor.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours