This is one of the roads with the greatest historical value in the city, since this street was for a long time the northern limit of Cuenca and the gateway from neighboring towns.
The road is as unique and narrow as ever, paved with Andean cobblestones and a pebblestone pattern.
Formerly called “Real del Vecino” street, in 1961 the street was renamed Calle Rafael María Arízaga, after an illustrious local figure who had a distinguished career as a legal advisor, member of parliament, presidential candidate and diplomat.
I took many of these photos during a parade one year ago on December 1, 2019 to honor the 20 year anniversary of Cuenca being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site City. Calle Rafael Maria Arizaga was considered a fitting place to have the parade because of it’s historic past and authentic architecture. Pictured here in the parade is the Mayor of Cuenca, and his wife.
Calle Rafael Maria Arizaga is also known for many murals of Cuenca tradesmen.
The architecture of the street reflects the authentic style of Cuenca. The simple houses along the road have adobe and bahareque walls.
This neighborhood is known as El Vecino.
According to the historian Víctor Manuel Albornoz Cabanilla, El Vecino was the first Cuenca district, renamed by the cañamazos or “reedmen” who, skilled in the use of sharp knives, made the Panama hats. The straw hat weavers gradually settled in this street between the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
Iglesia de San Jose de el Vecino, on Calle Rafael Maria Arizaga.
“En agradecimiento a la Municipalidad de Cuenca por la restauracion del monumento nacional a Nuestra Madre de la Merced como especial protectora y guardiana de la Cuidad” Padres Mercedarios Cuenca 28-11-2014.