Since 2009 this riverside market is considered a National Monument in the category of “Typical zone”. It was part of the remodeling, after the big 1960 Earthquake that hit Valdivia, in the jetty area that was built because of the 1909 fire, place where many boats used to land. That’s why it´s common to hear from the elders referring to the riverside market as “let´s go to the boats”.
A very special thing to mention about Valdivia is that the trading occurs through the river and the market place. Mariño de Lobera, military and chronicler, said “It´s the city very gifted of abundant fishes, and no less seafood, that the Indians pull out diving twelve mt under the water” (Chronicles of the Kingdom of Chile, 1865).
As Rosales says “The abundancy of fishes in the river and the dock was the gift of the city, the abundancy was showed every week where hundreds of canoes enter the river full of fish, fruits and vegetables from the earth…” (Rosales, TI p464), description that maybe it’s the origin of the riverside market.
Our riverside market rises next to the river as a communication point, during the colonial period and the beginning of the conquest which brought along the establishment of the city and later the creation of the plaza; the river was and has been a way through which many communities communicate with each other.
Let’s think for a moment in Valdivia without bridges, if the people wanted to move from one place to another like from Isla Teja, Collico o Las Ánimas, they used something called balseo (raft); like the Sheihin Balseo, Balseo La Peña, Balseo La Muñeca and Balseo Los Pelues, crossing the river in one of this rafts was a total experience depending on the weather of the day.
Therefore, it wasn´t weird that along all the riverside it had been growing what we nowadays know as the riverside market, which has its origin, if we focus in the photograph files, with the arrival of many boats from different parts of the zone; like Carboneros, Punucapa, Cabo Blanco, the small producers moved with flowers, fruits, fish and seafood, cheese, honey and the essencial applesider from Punucapa. A colorfull show that occurs all the year and it have been put into words by Schwenke y Nilo (singers from Valdivia) “it rains, it rains and the germans go shopping to the riverside market for fishes, every Friday” (Schwenke and Nilo, Southern Rains)