Peruvian Cities
Piura, PIURA
Location, extension and population | Brief historic overview | Main attractions of the capital | Main attractions of the department of Piura | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

LOCATION, EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Piura is located in the northern region of the country. It comprises parts of the Coast, Sierra and Jungle. It limits to the north with Tumbes and Ecuador, to the south with Lambayeque, to the east with Cajamarca, and to the west with the Pacific Ocean.

Piura has an extension of 36,403 km² (14,050 sq ml), and a population of almost 1'500,000 people.

The capital is Piura. It has a tropical and dry climate, with an average temperature of 24ºC (75.2ºF), rising to over 40ºC (104ºF) during summer. The rainy season runs from January through March. In the Andean region, nights are cold and mornings are mild. Other important cities are Sullana, Talara, Paita, Chulucanas, Huancabamba, and Morropón.

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BRIEF HISTORIC OVERVIEW
The most important culture that developed in the Piura region was Vicus, which stands out for its ceramics and delicate work in gold. The Tallanes or Yungas, however, were the first settlers, who migrated from the Sierra. During a period that is still vague, they lived in Behetrias, which were primitive settlements without a head or an organization.

Later on, they were conquered by the Mochicas, and centuries after by the Incas during the rule of Inca Yupanqui.

In 1532, Francisco Pizarro founded the first Spanish city in South America, on the banks of the Chira river in the Tangarará valley. He named it San Miguel. The founding date is still reason for controversy. However, during the 450 anniversary celebrations, July 15 was adopted as the official date.

In 1534, due to a lack of sanitary conditions, the capital was moved to Monte de los Padres (Morropón); in 1578, and for the same reason, it was moved again, this time to San Francisco de la Buena Esperanza (Paita). In 1588, the permanent attacks of the English pirates and corsairs forced a final relocation of the capital to Piura.

During Colonial times, life went by peacefully. Yet, the raids against the Spanish authorities led by Admirals Borran and Cochrane, members of the libertarian expedition of General San Martín, woke the longing for liberty in the minds of the local people.

On January 4, 1821, the independence of Piura was proclaimed in the atrium of the San Francisco church.

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MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE CAPITAL CITY
Plaza de Armas
. Located in the heart of the city, is surrounded by a total of 24 tamarinds and ficus trees, and at the center stands the marble statue, Pola.

Cathedral. From Colonial times, it houses paintings of San Martín de Porres and an image of the Virgin Mary by Ignacio Merino. The main altar is covered in gold leaf.

Iglesia del Carmen. It dates from the eighteenth century. Inside pieces of Viceroyal art can be appreciated.

Iglesia de San Francisco. The oldest in the city, and site of the proclamation of independence of the department.

Almirante Miguel Grau House Museum. The place were this remarkable marine was born. It keeps mementos of his childhood and youth.

Town Hall Museum. It holds collections of art and archaeology. The latter includes a great variety of pre-Columbian ceramics.

Catacaos. Typical town which stands out for its straw work, cotton handicrafts, and primarily for its filigree work in gold and silver. The city also has excellent picanterías.

Simbilá. A small village near the city. The people are dedicated to pottery, making mud stewpots, large jars, and other utensils.

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OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUIRA
Sechura. At 54 km (33.5 ml) from the capital, this region includes the Iglesia de San Martín, the Bayóvar Oil Export Complex, the Sechura desert, as well as the beaches of Chulliyachi, Constante, Matacaballo, San Pedro and Parachique.

Sullana. It is known as the Pearl of Chira. Located in this area is Tangarará, where the first capital was founded. Also, the Poechos dam and the Cerros de Amotape National Park.

Morropón. Located at 60 km (37 ml) from the city of Piura, it is the capital of the province of Chulucanas. Visitors can admire the Vicus archaeological ruins, as well as the work of the people of Chulucanas, famous artisans and potters. Also known as the region where the tondero and cumana rhythms and dances originated.

Paita. A coastal province that stands out for its well-known beach resorts, such as, Colán, Yacila, and Cangrejos. Other attractive sites are the Iglesia de San Lucas, which is the first church built in Perú, and the house of Manuelita Ramos, lover and mate of Simón Bolívar in the libertarian gest.

Talara. A province famous for its beaches and fishing sites, such as, Cabo Blanco, Los Órganos and Máncora.

Ayabaca. A province of the Sierra located at 211 km (131 ml) from the capital. It has lagoons with healing waters and a healthy climate.

Huancabamba. A province known for its famous Huaringas, a group of fourteen lakes considered to have magic powers. It is also home of curanderos (curers) and sorcerers.

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TYPICAL DISHES AND BEVERAGES
Piura is known for its ample variety of dishes, based on fish, kid, and poultry, which besides being well seasoned are well served. Among the most important are, seco de chabelo (dried beef meat and unripe bananas), mala radia (rice, dry fish and beans), caldo de siete carnes, sopa de novios, seco de cabrito con tamales verdes, pepián de pavo, carne asada, carne alinada, and copus or local pachamanca.

A drink that is present in every meal is the chicha de jora, which in Piura is served in any worthwhile picantería or restaurant.

The natilla (custard) is considered the Piurano dessert par excellence and well-known internationally.

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TOURIST CALENDAR
First Week in January.
Feria Internacional de los Reyes, celebrated in Sullana.

March 16. Anniversary of Talara.

Holy Week in Catacaos. From Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday, the whole town venerates the suffering Christ. It does so with processions, masses, stations of the cross, and popular dances.

June 9. Fiesta de la Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro.

June 21. Anniversary of Catacaos.

Last Week in July. The Peru-Ecuador Frontier Fair. During seven days the merchants and artisans exhibit their products amid artistic and cultural presentations.

August 15. Fiesta de la Virgen de la Asunción, patron of the city of Piura.

September 24. Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Main date of the festivities celebrated in Paita which last for a week, including pilgrimages and other acts in honor of la mamita meche.

October 13. Fiesta del Señor Cautivo, celebrated in Ayabaca. It lasts a week, with the participation of the whole town.

First Two Weeks in October. Anniversary of Piura.