extension and population
| Brief historic
Main attractions of the capital |
Main attractions of the department of Cajamarca
Typical dishes and beverages |
EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Cajamarca is located in the north of the
country, at the foot of occidental chain of the Andes, and
comprising parts of the Sierra and the Jungle. It limits to
the north with Ecuador, to the south with La Libertad, to
the east with Amazonas, and to the west with Piura and Lambayeque.
Cajamarca has an extension of
36,418 km² (14,000 sq ml) and a population of 1'300,000
The capital is the city
of Cajamarca, located at 2,719 m.a.s.l. (8,900 ft),
on a beautiful and fertile valley, surrounded by a colorful
landscape with all shades of green. The weather is mild, dry
Other important cities are Celendín,
Jaén, Chota, Cajabamba, Contumazá, and Cutervo.
The origin of the city of Cajamarca
goes back 3,000 years. The first settlers were the Huacaloma,
Layzón, Combe Mayo, and Otuzco.
As settlement of the Caxamarca culture, it reached
its greatest development between the years 500 through 1000
Around 1450, Cápac Yupanqui,
brother of the ruling Inca Pachacutec, conquered this land
incorporating it to the Tahuantinsuyo.
In November of 1532, Cajamarca
was the site of one of the most transcendent episodes in universal
history: a group of Spanish, under the command of conqueror
Francisco Pizarro, took Inca Atahualpa as prisoner. This incident
brought forth the meeting of two worlds, the origin of the
mestizaje or mixing of bloods, and a new era in the
history of Perú.
On February 11, 1855, the city
of Cajamarca was designated capital of the department by Supreme
Decree given by the President at the time, Marshal Ramón
On September 14, 1986 the Organization
of American States (OAS) declared Cajamarca a Historic and
Cultural Patrimony of The Americas.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE CAPITAL
Plaza de Armas or Main Square.
It is one of the largest and of greatest historical value
in the country. It was there that the meeting of two cultures
was proposed. It is located in the same place as the ancient
plaza where the Inca Atahualpa was executed.
Located on one side of the main square, it was built in
the seventeenth century. The façade is a refined example
of Baroque art with Plateresque reminiscences, with arcades,
arabesque work, cornices, and vaulted niches. The main altar
is totally covered in gold leaf.
Iglesia de San Francisco.
It is part of the convent of the same name. It contains
valuable pieces of art, as icons, images and religious paintings.
Also a museum of Colonial religious art.
Conjunto Monumental Belén.
Its construction dates from the eighteenth century. It
is a Colonial historic monument, a great exponent of Spanish
American Baroque and a symbol of the cultural identity of
Iglesia de La Recoleta. Built
in the seventeenth century and located in the popular quarter
of San Sebastián. It shows a sober façade carved
in stone and decorated by triple arch espadañas.
El Cuarto del Rescate. This
is the principal monument in Cajamarca due that it symbolizes
the meeting of two worlds and the only vestige of Inca architecture
there. This was the room where the captive Inca Atahualpa
offered one room filled with gold and two of silver to obtain
Colina Santa Apolonia. Splendid
natural belvedere dominating the whole valley. Parts of a
pre-Inca (Chavín) stone altar may be seen, commonly
known as la silla del Inca, the chair of the Inca.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CAJAMARCA
Baños del Inca.
These are bathing resorts of thermal waters located at 6 km
(3.7 miles) from the capital, and with temperatures reaching
up to 79°C (174°F). The modern facilities and the
curative properties of the waters, rank them among the most
important bathing resorts of this kind in the continent.
Ventanillas de Otuzco.
This great Inca necropolis, located at 8 km (5 miles) from
the city, is characterized by the carved crypts in rocky cliffs
resembling a huge funeral mosaic. Most are simple niches,
but some are multiple, forming corridors with lateral niches.
La Colpa. Beautiful post
in the countryside of Cajamarca and site of El Rescate
stock farm, well-known for training their cows, who at
the call of their name, go to be milked.
Pariamarca. This is a
small town of typical peasant atmosphere and known for its
textiles and the use of natural dyes of varied colors.
Aylambo Center. A rural
development center supported by the Universidad Nacional
de Cajamarca. It includes a pottery teaching workshop
where modern techniques are combined with the ancestral skills
of the local people.
Cumbemayo. An impressive
archeological complex at the skirts of El Cumbe mountain.
It is considered one of the most outstanding works of hydraulic
engineering of pre-Hispanic America.
Combayo Necropolis is
a pre-Inca archeological site of great interest. As the Ventanillas
de Otuzco, it has beautiful windows carved in rock, but
in a better state of conservation and a greater number of
Huanbocancha and Porcón.
These communities stand out for their artisan workmanship
in stone, carved fountains, pots, statues, and small ornaments.
DISHES AND BEVERAGES
It is said that many dishes that
still are considered traditional in Cajamarca come from the
time of the Incas, although some of them show the meztizaje
in the use of species that were unknown by them. The best
known are picante de cuy al estilo de Cajamarca, hen
broth, quinua soup, wheat soup, and other soups with
potatoes, corn and cornstarch.
Among their drinks, the most
preferred are cañazo or sugar cane brandy, and
the chicha de jora.
February 22 through March 1. Carnivals.
Cajamarca is known as the capital of the Peruvian carnivals.
The people celebrate them with special dedication, start to
prepare their costumes months ahead. Each quarter chooses
their candidate as the Carnival Queen, who presides the floats,
parades, and other activities. There are masquerades, group
of parades, dances and other endless activities. The whole
town participates in the daily game of throwing balloons filled
with water against each other.
Holy Week. There
are several forms in which this dates is remembered. The most
particular celebration takes place on Palm Sunday in
Porcón, where the local people create enormous banners
with mirrors, palms and flowers that sometimes reach up to
3 mt (9.8 ft.). The image of Señor de Ramos
goes in procession along the streets riding on a white donkey.
This week is also remembered with great religious fervor in
Contumazá, Cajabamba, and Hualgayoc.
May 15. Fiesta de San
Isidro Labrador. In honor of their patron, the peasants
of Ichocán decorate their yoke as well as their house
porches with home-grown fruits. The image is carried on the
shoulders of the faithful in procession. Later on, they dance
and join the fair for the trade of products.
June 24. Fiesta de
San Juan. Celebrated in Chota, Cutervo, and San Pablo,
with religious activities, bullfights and commercial fairs.
July 16. Fiesta de
la Virgen del Carmen de Celendín. The town gets
together to thank their patron for the favors received. Activities
begin two weeks in advance with different celebrations in
each quarter, such as, farm and livestock fairs and bullfights.
In Bambamarca, celebrations are quite similar.
July 31. Fiesta de
San Ignacio de Loyola. The capital of the province that
bears the name of the saint also celebrates this day with
several religious, social and recreational activities.
September 7. Anniversary
of Huanchaco. Celebration in the district of Baños
del Inca in commemoration of its political creation.
First Sunday in October. Virgen
del Rosario. In Cajabamba, the celebration lasts eight
days, with bullfights, a farm, livestock, and handicrafts
fair, and a folk dance competition.
December 24. The birth
of Christ is celebrated in the entire department with music
and dancing in which every exiting folk dance group takes
part. In the capital, there are competitions of pallas
and villancicos or Christmas carols.