Casa de los Gigantes has been around since the 1960’s when a graphic artist from Chicago, USA bought the property and started to work with artisans in the highlands of Guatemala. It became a destination store then. Now under new management since 1995, we have continued our collaboration with groups of artisans all over the country.
We have developed our export business by collaborating with designers as well as large and small retailers in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia under the name of Doña Cristina S.A.
We have invested in our own carpentry shop where we were the first organization in Guatemala to work with plantation grown teak. We have been members of AGEXPORT for the last 20 years and won the Best Exporter of the Year Award in 2004, we are exhibiting at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market this year, and we have participated inthe NWCF every year since its inception.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING:
A 17th-Century tale about the giants, -larger than life figures who are paraded during religious events- tells that while being taken to a procession, an unexpected downpour forced their carriers to ask the owners of this house for shelter. Its enormous doorways provided an ideal refuge for the giants. That evening, a curious boy peeked through the keyhole and was frightened by what he saw. Huge men with swords glistening at their sides stood poised for battle. The little boy ran through the streets screaming for help.
The townspeople, fearing that pirates were holed up in the house, sounded the call of alarm and all the churches’ bells began pealing. The soldiers arrived, assisted by the neighbors, ready for a fight to the finish. They placed a cannon and fired the first cannonball demanding surrender. On hearing the thunderous explosion, Don Cristobal de Alvarenga, the house’s owner, appeared with his entourage of servants. They were completely surrounded by armed soldiers.
Don Cristobal immediately pulled out a white flag, and to convince them of his guests identity, he threw open the huge doors. The men, suspecting a plot fell to the ground, ready to fire. When they realized their mistake, the soldiers doubled over in laughter. That night, there was much joking among those who had mistaken the giants for pirates. From that time on, the house has been known as: “THE HOUSE OF THE GIANTS”.