La Paz has a unique market that helps to bring back love, health, intelligence, happiness and wealth. This Witches’ Market also known as El Mercado de las Brujas is located on Calle Jiminez and Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz. Strange and fascinating products are sold here. Vendors line on the street to sell native herbs, various parts of frogs, potions, naked couple figurines, black penis candles Bolivian armadillos, aphrodisiac, owl feathers, snakes, dried turtles and star fish. The most famous thing sold is the dried llama fetus.
In this part of Bolivia the ancient Aymaran beliefs are still practiced. Different ingredients used in the rituals to call on the spirits that populate the Aymara world are sold in the Witches’ Market. The llama fetuses are buried in the foundations of new houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Panchamama, the goddess Mother Earth. The fetus will keep the construction workers safe and will give the resident wealth, health, happiness and good luck. The fetuses sold are the ones that come from miscarriages or still births. Baby llamas are not killed and sold.
- The naked ceramic couples are bought to improve sex life, rectify impotency and increase fertility.
- Dried Armadillos are kept in the house to prevent thefts. Frog parts are believed to bring good luck.
- The sweet smelling herbs bring good luck and love.
- Even powdered dog’s tongue is sold here. This powder is added to the man’s food to make him a loyal lover.
Roaming in the Witches’ market are the Doctor Witches called yatiri. The yatiri is seen wearing a black hat and carrying coco pouches that contain amulets, talismans, potions and powders. It is believed that the yatiri has the power to contact the supernatural. The yatiri read fortunes, cure illness and cast a spell to improve money problems, work problems, to pass exams etc.
The Witches’ Market is becoming an interesting site for travelers.