Peruvian Cities
Huaraz, ANCASH
Location, extension and population | Brief historic outline | Main attractions of the Callejon de Huaylas | Main attractions of the department of Ancash | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

Laguna de Llanganuco. Ancash. Fotografía: Aníbal Solimano / PromPerú.LOCATION, EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Ancash is located in the northwestern part of the country. It has the privilege to harbor every landscape of the world in its territory. On one side, Ancash is bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and, on the other, it is surrounded by the Andes in the Sierra.

It has an extension of 36,308 km² (14,000 sq ml) and a population of over 980,000 people.

The capital is Huaraz, located at 3,100 m.a.s.l. (10,000 ft). The city of Chimbote, on the Coast, is considered among the largest fishing ports in the world, and the biggest iron and steel industrial center in Perú. Due to the diversity of its geography, the weather in Ancash also differs, that is, it is warm in the Coast and cold in the Sierra. Nevertheless, mornings are mild and fresh all year round.


The beginnings of civilization in this region were around the years 400 to 600 AD. Chavín was the native culture, a civilization that practiced intensely the worship of its gods, and was outstanding for its ceramics and sculptures in stone. The Chavín people offered a strong resistance when the Incas decided to enlarge their domains.

When the Spanish arrived to what today is known as Huaraz in search of gold and silver, they caused great destruction because the local people rebelled against submission.

In spite of the pressure that Francisco Pizarro imposed upon them to obtain the dominion of the national wealth of the region at any price, the Waylas and Conchucos would not subdue, thus, causing a massacre. This is one of the reasons why the real date of the founding of the city is unknown, in spite of some unreliable versions that think otherwise.

During Colonial times, Huaraz was not as important as other cities in the country, that is why there are very few remnants of Colonial mansions there. Yet, what was significant was the ill-treatment of the natives by Nevado Alpamayo. Ancash. Fotografía: Aníbal Solimano / PromPerú.the Corregidores (Spanish magistrates), which led to a systematic confrontation between the authorities and the clergy, who strove for better treatment of the locals.

The people of Ancash committed vehemently with the struggle for independence. Many among the most important figures in Ancash incorporated to the forces led by Bolívar. Likewise, during The War of The Pacific (with Chile), the Ancashinos showed great endurance against the invaders. General Andrés Avelino Cáceres organized the resistance in the Battle of de la Breña by moving the troops from Huaraz to Yungay without being defeated.


The CALLEJÓN DE HUAYLAS is a circuit including the towns of Recuay, Aija, Marcará, Carhuaz, Mancos, Yungay and Caraz, which are different and comprehensive. So, even if Huaraz is the starting point of the circuit, after visiting its traditional sites, such as, the Plaza de Armas or Main Square, the Cathedral, doing the Callejón de Huaylas circuit, which is not very far, is a necessity and a great opportunity to be in contact with nature, people and their folklore.

Camping en la Cordillera Blanca. Ancash. Fotografía: Jim Bartle / PromPerú.Along the route, the footprints of a wonderful cultural past in sculpture and architecture can still be appreciated, such as, the chulpas or graves of Willcahuín and Honcopampa; a tomb at Janku; and sites like Huallac, Kekamarca, Marcún and Keyash.

Huascarán National Park. Created in 1975 with the objective of preserving the flora and fauna, geological lands, archeological sites, and the beauty of the Cordillera Blanca, the park comprises not only the famous Huascarán, but all the area that surpasses 3,300 km² (1,300 sq ml).

Laguna de LlanganucoYungay. The province that was buried together with its 50,000 people during the 1970 earthquake and stands today in the same place. At 25 km (15 ml) from this site, the Yanganuco Lagoon, a beautiful natural wonder of blue waters and Edenic scenery, is located.

Laguna de Conococha. Located over 4,100 m.a.s.l. (13,400 ft), this lagoon is where the Callejón de Huaylas and the Santa river start.

Cañon del Pato. This canyon is famous for its hydroelectric plant and for being at the northern end of the Callejón de Huaylas.

Monterrey Thermal Baths. They are located at only 7 km (4 ml) from Huaraz, with waters that reach up to 49°C (120° F).

Chancos Thermal Springs. At a distance of 30 km (18 ml) from the capital, with temperatures ranging from 68° to 72° C (155° to 160° F).


Cabeza clava en Chavín de Huántar. Ancash. Fotografía: Aníbal Solimano / PromPerú.MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ANCASH
Archeological Complex Chavín de Huantar
. Located in the Callejón de Conchucos, Chavín de Huantar was once one of the main religious and cultural centers in the western hemisphere. An example of its outstanding architecture in stone is the castillo or castle and its labyrinth, a mysterious construction of narrow paths and a multitude of enigmatic figures in carved stone, such as, the Cabezas Clavas, sculptures with ferocious faces.

Paramonga Fortress. This fortress is located in the Coast, within the limits between the departments of Lima and Ancash. In spite the fact that some archeologists believe this imposing construction was a religious ceremonial site, the majority coincide in that it was used as the last bastion of the Chimús, before submitting to the forces of Inca Pachacutec in the middle of the fifteenth century.

Nepeña. At 35 km (22 ml) from Casma in the Coast, this valley is near the huaca (tomb) of Pañamarca, built from adobe and which still shows vestiges of a Mochica past, with paintings unique in their style.

Huarmey. Coastal province with several fish mill industries and beautiful beaches along its coast, specially Tortugas.

Casma.It´s 2 main attractiveness: Sechín. This was the first cultural site in the Peruvian Coast. It houses an archeological complex by the same name with an antiquity of over 3,000 years. It is impressive on account of its architecture and stone ornaments, uncommon to the cultures of the Coast. It is located at 5 km (3 ml) from Casma. Tortugas´s Beach. It´s leaving the city, in the route to Chimbote.

Chimbote. Once considered the most important fishing port in the world. The city is located in the broad bay of El Ferrol, one of the most sheltered and safe in the world.


Due to the variety of its climate and geography (Coast and Sierra), Ancash has dishes to please the most demanding tastes. Beside the cebiche and other dishes based on fish and seafood that may be tasted on the Coast, well-known in the Sierra are, Huaracino style guinea-pig picante, jaca-chasqui (a variation of the former dish, but as a soup), papa-chasqui (soup based on potato, milk and cottage cheese), yuca-shupe (an low fat soup served in the morning after a night of amusement), pecán-caldo (lamb head broth), huallpa-chasqui (chicken broth with ground nuts and almonds), and humitas de chococa.

It is recommended to drink any of the different fruit punches, according to the season.


January 18 through 21
. Virgen de Chiquinguirá. Caraz honors its patron dancing, drinking and eating during those days.

February 2. Virgen de la Candelaria. The province of Aija honors this Virgin with dancers disguised as black men, and tasting typical food.

February. Carnivals. This is a celebration in Huaraz and other districts with great pomp and exhibition of folk dances, food and costumes.

Holy Week. Several activities are planned during these days to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on behalf of humanity. At Huir, processions take place during the whole week, the locals carrying a different image each day. At Lujuriaba, on Palm Sunday the whole town participates in the celebrations with the palms they have previously gathered from the fields and which are to be blessed and carried during the processions. At Carduza, the people wear black garments and keep mourning on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. At Huasas, there is a gathering of images and retreat. At Corono, the people stay home and do penance on Good Friday.

May 3. Señor de la Soledad, patron of earthquakes and disasters. On this day, the people from other districts and villages arrive bringing with them small typical music bands with quenas (Andean flutes) and bombos (large drums), and also gigantic candles made by themselves to carry during the procession.

June 8. Fiesta de la Virgen Purísima. The province of Raimondi organizes the festivity in honor of this Virgin with bullfights, typical dances, cattle selling, and also pageants of the Inca period.

June 29. Fiesta de San Pedro de Corongo, patron of the province. With diverse activities, folklore, food and drink, among others.

Chimbote Week. It takes place the last week in June, with artistic, cultural, sports and social activities. National and foreign performers attend. On the 29, the patron of the city, San Pedro, is taken in procession around the bay.

July 8. Fiesta de Santa Isabel. One of the most pompous festivities in Huaylas. It includes the participation of several music bands, dancers and guests, who enjoy themselves both day and night.

July 25. Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol. At the province of Aija, religious and folklore activities are organized, where the town people practice the yuca-canga, which means 'yuca gift.'

August 15. Fiesta de la Virgen de la Asunción. It is celebrated in the provinces of Huari, Raimondi and Huaylas, up the mountain slopes announcing the arrival of the Virgin. At Huari, there are also bullfights, cockfights and ribbon tournaments. Here, the men compete on horseback as in medieval times, trying to pick with a small stick a ring that bears their lovers name.

August 20. Santa Regional Fair, where the people of the province sell and exhibit their products.

August 30. Grand celebration of the founding of the province of Aija. People dwelling in other cities return to their homeland to celebrate this festivity as it deserves. Also in Chiquián, a province of Bolognesi, Santa Rosa is honored on her day. During the whole week, music, dancing, bullfights and soccer matches takes place.

September 14. Exaltación de la Cruz.

November 1 and 2. All Saints Day and Day of the Dead. Family and friends visit different cemeteries of the department to recall their dead. They attend together with musicians, food and drink, which they consume until dawn.