Peruvian cities
Abancay, APURIMAC
Location, extension and population | Brief historic outline | City highlights | Main attractions of the department of Apurimac | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

Puente colonial construído en el siglo XVI sobre el río Pachachaca (Apurímac - Andahuaylas)LOCATION, 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 371,000 people.

The capital is the city of Abancay, a spring like city with narrow streets, and white houses with tin roofs or red-roof tiles.

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Torreón de la casa hacienda Patibamba, fue construído en el año 1908.BRIEF HISTORIC OUTLINE
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 to Andahuaylas.

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 capital.

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CITY HIGHLIGHTS
Main Square
. Where the Cathedral, the chapel of the Señor de la Caída, and the Ocampo and Micaela Bastidas parks are located.

Monolitos tallados del complejo de Sayhuite ubicado en la zona de Rumihuasi.Saywite 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.

Curahuasi. Valley 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.

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Plaza de Armas de Andahuaylas, al fondo se encuentra el Templo colonial de San Pedro.MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF APURÍMAC
Andahuaylas
. 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.

Antabamba. Trephinations so accurately performed that astonish medicine have been found there. Also, mud sculptures, weapons, domestic utensils, and hunting implements.

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 are allowed.

Chincheros. A district in the province of Andahuaylas full of beauty and color.

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TYPICAL 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 prepare.

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 roscas.

The best beverages are chichas and punches.

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TOURIST CALENDAR
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 religious folklore.

February. Carnivals. 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 Fiesta.

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 food.