extension and population
historic outline |
attractions of the department of Apurimac |
dishes and beverages |
EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Apurímac is located in the south,
limiting with Cusco, Arequipa and Ayacucho. Since a rough
topography has placed it between high mountains and deep cliffs,
only through titanic efforts the winding roads have been build.
Located in the Sierra, the weather in Apurímac during
the greatest part of the year is rainy and with low temperatures.
It is advised to travel from June through October.
Apurímac has an extension
of 22,654 km² (7,970 sq ml), and a population of around
The capital is the city
of Abancay, a spring like city with narrow streets,
and white houses with tin roofs or red-roof tiles.
Little is known about its origins,
although, chroniclers state the fact that the first settlers
were formed by tribes of several regions that originated from
the Quechua culture. The legendary Chancas settled
in the region of Andahuaylas. This group of tribes are known
in history as rebel and fearless warriors of the ancient Perú.
Chronicles relate that the Chancas
prepared themselves for years to conquer the imperial city
of Cusco, but only on account of the great figure and strategy
of Inca Pachacutec, the Inca empire did not yield.
By the time the conquerors established
the first political organization of the Colony, almost the
whole extension of the actual department was under the jurisdiction
of the authorities of Huamanga; nevertheless, there is no
recollection on the foundation of cities and towns.
The best men and women of Apurímac
participated in the struggles for emancipation and independence.
One of them was Mateo Pumacahua, who led a movement that extended
Let us also mention Micaela Bastidas
who, together with her husband José Gabriel Condorcanqui
--Túpac Amaru II-- faced torture from the Spanish oppressors
and put down her life on behalf of liberty.
At the beginning of the Republic,
Abancay belonged to Cusco. It was not until April 28, 1873
that a law was given to create the department of Apurímac,
based on the provinces of Andahuaylas (Ayacucho), Antabamba,
Aymaraes and Cotabambas (Cusco), and naming Abancay as its
Where the Cathedral, the chapel of the Señor de la
Caída, and the Ocampo and Micaela Bastidas parks are
Archeological Complex. Located at the north of Abancay,
it reveals the existence of millenary cultural centers. The
famous Saywite stone, considered as the scale model of the
Tahuantinsuyo, is almost round and convex, 4 mt diameter
(30 ft), with multiple carvings depicting people, animals
and plants grouped by natural regions.
Ampay Snow-covered Peak.
An imposing natural wonder that rises at the foot of the
city of Abancay.
where the best anise in the world is produced, and the starting
point towards Saywite. From this location it is possible to
have a panoramic view of the Salcantay, the impressive snow-covered
mountain in Cusco. Also, the thermal baths of Jónoc
can be visited.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF APURÍMAC
This city, rather cold, is located at 2,980 m.a.s.l. (9,800
ft). It is the most modern in the department. The main church
is the Cathedral de San Pedro, built in Colonial style architecture.
A one-piece stone fountain stands out in the Plaza de Armas
or main square.
Talavera de la Reyna.
At 4 km (2.5 ml) from the city of Andahuaylas. The main square
or Plaza de Armas is remarkable, built in stone with an impressive
tower with a clock. Nearby, the thermal baths of Hualalache
may be visited.
Chalhuanca, the capital
of the province of Aymaraes, located at 2,800 m.a.s.l. (2,100
ft.), preserves beautiful churches built during Colonial times,
containing fine wood carvings and gold leaf.
so accurately performed that astonish medicine have been found
there. Also, mud sculptures, weapons, domestic utensils, and
Laguna de Pacucha.
Considered one of the largest and most beautiful lagoons
of the country is located at 3,000 m.a.s.l. (9,800 ft.) in
the route between Andahuaylas and Abancay. It is an ideal
place to rest and enjoy nature. Also, fish and duck hunting
Chincheros. A district
in the province of Andahuaylas full of beauty and color.
DISHES AND BEVERAGES
The people of Apurímac
are known for their good food and hospitality. It is not surprising,
hence, to see how they permanently offer food, specially a
variety of home-made bread elaborated with the flour they
One of the typical dishes is
the huatía, that goes back to ancient times.
It consists in building a fire surrounded by stones, on the
center of which potatoes are placed until done. The ancient
settlers used to prepare it during sowing and harvesting.
Also, very well-known in Apurímac
is a dish of potatoes and eggs with uchullachua (sauce
made with chili, cottage cheese and huacatay, a very
strong tasting Peruvian herb.) Among the variety of breads,
we find rejillas, tarapacos, paltos and
The best beverages are chichas
January 1 through 6.
New Year's celebrations in Andahuaylas. During those
days the Baja de Negros (dancers disguised as black
men) takes place. There is entertainment of all sorts, specially
The whole town fills the streets to participate in La Gunsa
(tumbamonte). It is the only opportunity in which Apurímac
shows all its folklore, with disguised groups dancing through
all the quarters. In Andahuaylas, women and men dance in groups
all day and night. In Grau, bullfights are organized,
and the day before, the torril velacuy or velada
de toros takes place to drive away evil spirits and avoid
any harm to the toreros. En Aymaraes, a
sling tournament between several districts takes place, a
kind of duel, leaving several participants wounded.
May 13. Fiesta de la
Virgen de Fátima. Great demonstration of folklore,
specially music and dance. Numerous musical groups arrive
to Grau to show their arts.
June 24. Farm Products
and Livestock Fair in Pachaconas (Antabamba), where the
best products of the region are exhibited. A majordomo,
called Carguyoc, is in charge of entertaining the guests.
July 28. YAWAR FIESTA
in CHALHUANCA - AYWARAES. A special bullfight in which a condor
is tied to the back of the bull. Also, cockfights and the
traditional ride to the Pacucha Lagoon, for good trout fishing.
August 15. Fiesta de
la Virgen de la Asunción. The people of Grau crowd
the streets to take part in processions and prayers. Simultaneously,
the tinca or branding of the cattle takes place. In
Cotabambas, the festivity is celebrated with the Yawar
September 24. Fiesta
de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. The whole
town of Antabamba is invited to dance, drink, eat or to the
bullfights and horse racing.
October 7. Fiesta de
la Virgen del Rosario. Everyone in Abancay takes part.
There are processions and fireworks. The alferado or
majordomo is responsible for the expenses of the feast.
November 3. The anniversary
of the city of Abancay. Celebrated with several sports, folklore
and social activities. Also, cockfights and bullfights.
December 8. Fiesta
de la Vrgen de la Concepción. In Cotabambas,
dancing goes on in the main square during three or four nights,
before and after the celebrations.
December 25. During Christmas
Eve and Christmas, the people of Cotabambas go out to
dance in the streets together with disguised dancers. Large
crowds salute the Holy Child in adoration with songs and prayers.
There are also processions, fireworks and banquets with typical