Peruvian Cities
Huancayo, JUNIN
Location, extension and population | Brief historic outline | Main attractions of the capital city | Main attractions of the department of Junin | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

LOCATION, EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Junín is located in the central region of the Peruvian Andes. Due to its geographical position, it comprises Sierra and Jungle zones. The weather is cold and dry in the Sierra, with marked differences between day and night, and the rainy season being from November through April. It limits with Pasco, Ucayali, Cusco, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Lima.

It has an extension of 43,384 km² (16,751 sq ml) and a population of over 100,000 people.

The capital is the city of Huancayo, at 3,271 m.a.s.l. (10,731 ft), located in the middle of the Mantaro Valley and at the left margin of the river with the same name. Other important cities are Jauja, Concepción, La Oroya, Tarma, Satipo and Chanchamayo.

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TarmaBRIEF HISTORIC OUTLINE
The department of Junín is located in what in the past was a region inhabited by the Huancas, a fierce community that was conquered by the Inca Pachacutec in 1460. Huancayo then became the main regional tambo (inn) of the Caminos del Inca or Inca Trail.

In 1534, the region was occupied by the Spanish. On April 25 of that same year, under the command of Francisco Pizarro, the first capital of Perú, Jauja, was founded. On July 26, 1538, after defeating the Collas, Chancas and Incas, the conquerors founded the city of Tarma, which later on became the biggest contributor to the Spanish crown.

In 1571, the town of Huancayo was founded.

During Colonial times, the locals rebelled against the Spanish abuse. One of these rebels was Juan Santos Atahualpa, who for many years became a threat for the Spanish rule.

Huancayo proclaimed the national independence on November 20, 1820, and two years later, the Viceroyship of Torre Tagle bestowed it with the title of Insuperable City. Afterwards, on August 6, 1824, in the Pampas of Junín, took place the definite fight to banish the oppressive Realists (the Spanish). On that day, one of the most important battles in the continent was won, the Battle of Ayacucho.

During the Pacific War, an amazing case of heroism occurred when the Toledo family, mother and two daughters, commanding a group of natives armed with axes, prevented the enemy to cross through the city. They fought fiercely and were also able to cut the bridge moorings when the enemy army was crossing through.

With a battalion of peasants armed with rocks and slings, Field Marshal Andrés Avelino Cáceres fought Breña Campaign, preventing the Chileans from invading the central part of the country.

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MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE CAPITAL CITY
Capilla de la Merced
. The chapel where the Constitutional Congress assembled in 1830, it is considered a National Monument for being one of the only Colonial vestiges left. It houses a great collection of Cusqueño style paintings.

Cerrito de la Libertad. A natural observatory with a panoramic view of the city. It also has a site zoo.

Torre Torre. Very near from Cerrito de la Libertad, it is a geological formation of enormous towers of clayey soil molded by winds and rain.

Huancayo Sunday Fair. Week after week, this fair on Huancavelica St. offers local crafts, livestock, farming and industrial products.

Convento de Santa Rosa de Ocopa. Huancayo.Convento de Santa Rosa de Ocopa. This convent, located at 25 km (15.5 ml) from Huancayo, was built 250 years ago as part of the mission to evangelize the Amazon people. The library holds over 25,000 volumes, some from the fifteenth century. There is also a Museum of Natural History and a church, reconstructed in 1905, that houses wood carved altarpieces.

Cochas Chico. A town located at 8 km (5 ml) from the Huancayo, where the artisans do beautiful work engraving gourds (mates burilados).

Hualhuas. A town of artisans, specialized on textiles, rugs, alpaca ponchos and ornaments.

San Jerónimo de Tunán. A district well-known for its silver jewelry. The local church houses Baroque and Churrigueresque wood carved altars from the seventeenth century.

Ingenio. A trout breeding center on a pleasant countryside. Fish dishes are served outdoors.

Sicaya. A district with a beautiful landscape and with a church that houses wood carved Colonial altars.

Chupaca. With a belvedere to view Cunas river, it also has a Saturday fair.

Huayao Geophysical Observatory. At 17 km (11 ml) from Huancayo, it registers the seismic movements that occur nationwide.

Santuario Warivilca. A sanctuary built in the Wari empire, it keeps the sacred Molle tree and has a site museum.

Sapallanga. It stands out for its natural beauty, and the ruins of Ullacoto and Ahumaica.

Pucará. A village of great historical significance. The people took part in the Breña Campaign against the Chileans.

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OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUNIN
Concepción
, located in the Mantaro Valley, this province has a lovely landscape and old Colonial style houses.Laguna de Paca. Jauja, Junín.

Jauja. The main church houses beautiful Baroque style wooden carvings. The Capilla de Cristo Pobre has paintings of the Via Crucis brought from France. Jauja has a excellent climate and an incomparable countryside.

Laguna de Paca. At 4 km (2.5 ml) from Jauja, this lagoon is surrounded by totoras, habitat of the existing fauna. It is formed by underground filtration.


TarmaTarma, called The pearl of the Andes, is located at 3,080 m.a.s.l. (10,104 ft.).

San Pedro de Cajas. At 41 km from Tarma, this district is worldly known for its famous cotton, wool and synthetic fiber tapestry.

Gruta de Guayapacavern . At 33 km (20.5 ml) from Tarma, this keeps rupestrian paintings with hunting scenes, as well as stalactites of different sizes.

Pampas de Junín. At 4,105 m.a.s.l. (13,468 ft.), it houses the Lago de Junín National Reserve, habitat of a great variety of wild fauna. The last battle of independence, Battle of Ayacucho, was fought in these pampas.

La Oroya, at 3,726 m.a.s.l. (12,224 ft.), is known as the metallurgic capital of the country. This is where the routes to Junín, Tarma, Jauja and Huancayo divide.

Aguas Termales de Yuli. Located at 18 km (11 ml) from La Oroya, over 4,140 m.a.s.l. (13,583 ft.), these thermal waters have healing properties, with temperatures reaching up to 52°C (125.6° F).

Valle de Chanchamayo. Located in the Central Jungle, this valley includes the towns of Chanchamayo, San Ramón and La Merced. The region is known for its fruit plantations, the Perezoso Botanical Garden, and where Juan Santos Atahualpa, who fought against the Spanish oppression, is buried.

Satipo. A town located in the midst of the High Jungle or mountain rim, where native communities dwell and can be visited.

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TYPICAL DISHES AND BEVERAGES
Without a doubt, the most well-known dish in Junín is papa a la huancaína (boiled potatoes with a sauce based on cottage cheese, milk, bread crumbs, and hot peppers or chili). It is no longer a regional dish since it has spread throughout the country. There are also other dishes that due to their unique seasoning and diverse ingredients, are also typical. These include, pachamanca (barbecue), head broth, patazca, yaku chupi, red guinea-pig, huallpa chupe, red chicharrón and sancochado oroyino.

Most popular among the desserts are, the guagua sponge cake and peach compote.

Huancaínos drink chicha de jora and the calentito (aguardiente or brandy with tea) to warm themselves up.

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TOURIST CALENDAR
First Week in January.
La Huanaconada. A festivity in which the people of Mito, a village in the Mantaro valley, play a parody on the making of justice. To the rhythm of huaynos (typical Andean dances), locals and visitors dance throughout the village.

Carnivals. In each village the people participate in the tumbamonte, that is, knocking down an eucalyptus tree covered with colorful gifts. The dancing continues during several days. In the village of Marco, near Jauja, the dance troupes in each quarter compete to see which is the best.

March 3. Anniversary of the Hermanas Toledo. This celebration takes place in Concepción to commemorate the courage of the Toledo women who fought against the invading Chilean army.

Holy Week. A strong devotion is shown in every city, accompanied by masses and processions. In Tarma, Holy Week is a big festivity. The sanctuary of the Lord of Muruhuay is filled with devotees and the image goes out in procession throughout the city rugged with flower tapestries.

April 25. Jauja Anniversary. During the whole week artistic, cultural, sports and social activities take place.

First Week in May. Fiesta del Señor de Muruguay. Thousands of fervent Catholics get there to render their homage. The mass is sang in quechua, and the procession is followed by dancers and troupes of Chonguinadas (dancers are dressed as Spanish and move like dancing a French minuet.)

July 24. Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol, patron of all the Mantaro valley villages and towns. They all join the Santiago dance, they eat and drink for two days.

August 6. Battle of Junín. Official ceremony and parade celebrated in the site of the battle.

August 11 through 14. Fiesta de Santa Clara de Asís and San Miguel Arcángel, both patrons of Manzanares in the province of Concepción.

August 30. Fiesta de San Roque. Celebrated in the district of San Jerónimo de Tunán, where locals are very hospitable with their guests. In Ocopa, the traditional puchero (with potatoes, cabbage and pork meat) is served.

September 8. Fiesta de la Virgen de Cocharcas. A week-long religious festivity celebrated in the district of Sapallanga. In Orcotuna, the toreros for the bullfights come from Lima.