Calle de las Herrerias

This country house takes its name from the area in which it is located, Chaguarchimbana, on Calle de las Herrerias. Chaguarchimbana means “chaguarquero”, or the shallowest place for crossing the river. No-one knows exactly when the area gained this name, but it pre-dates the colonial period.

During the Inca period,the Royal Road passed by this place, connecting the two most important Incan cities, namely Tomebamba and Cuzco. In the colonial period the area was taken over by the city’s wealthy families, because of its scenic landscape and also because it was an advantageous site for obtaining farming produce to meet daily needs.

Records indicate that in 1832 the property belonged to Juan Izquierdo del Prado, the city council’s scribe. On his death the estate was divided into two parts, with the River Yanuncay serving as the common boundary.
José Miguel Narciso Valdivieso, purchased this part of the land in 1862, and in 1875 it was inherited by his son Antonio, who built the country house as a holiday home. In 1908 Chaguarchimbana passed into the hands of his niece Florencia Astudillo Valdivieso, who died on March 18, 1956, at the age of 87. 

At that time, Chaguarchimbana was one of the most elegant mansions in the region, in the middle of the city and the countryside, considered a house full of luxuries and comforts, with wide corridors, gardens, and murals that adorned the front facade. 

This colonial-style house is arranged around a patio, two floors, a large entrance gate and an entrance corridor, it also shows characteristics of the region: wide corridors, bluish or lilac colors on the walls and a watch tower where one could observe Cuenca. 

It was restored in 1992 , where it housed the Museum of the Earth and the Arts of Fire under the responsibility of the Paúl Rivet Foundation. Later it passed into the hands of the Municipality of Cuenca. 

On the second floor balcony there is a series of murals c 1910 inspired by European prints, a very frequent practice among painters of that time. They could be from the hand of Nicolas Vivar known for having frescoed many of the houses and churches of that time.

Some of the metal work on display at the “Museo de las Artes Del Fuego”