de Pasco, PASCO
extension and population
| Brief historic
Main attractions of the department of Pasco
Typical dishes and beverages |
EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Pasco is located in the central part of
the country. Its territory comprises parts of the Sierra (ridge
of the Andes mountains) and parts of the Ceja de Selva
(High Jungle or mountain rim). Pasco limits to the north
with Huánuco, to the south with Junín, to the
east with Ucayali, and to the west with Lima. It is located
at 4,355 m.a.s.l. (14,288 ft). The weather is cold, the highest
temperature being 20ºC (68º F), the lowest, 8ºC
(46º F). It has an extension of 21,854 km² (8,438
sq ml), and a population of over 600,000 people.
The capital of Pasco is
Cerro de Pasco, which extends over the sloping Ulianchin
mountain and sits at the skirts of the Patarcocha lagoon.
Other important cities in Pasco include, Oxapampa, Villa Rica,
Yanahuanca, Chaupimarca and Huayllay.
The first settlers of the region
known today as Pasco, were members of the Huanca culture
who extended their domains throughout the central Sierra.
In constant war with other cultures, such as the Chancas,
they built small fortifications to defend themselves.
With their submission to the
Inca empire, this region became part of the Chinchaysuyo
(one of the four regions in which the empire was divided),
which served as refuge for travelers heading for other regions.
During colonial times, the Spanish
discovered the fabulous mineral resources in Pasco. Native
oral tradition tells that way back, in the year 1630, Santiago
Hauricapcha, a shepherd, discovered these mine beds while
having to take shelter from a storm. He improvised a bonfire
to prepare his meal and, after a while, discovered that threads
of gold were running down from the heated stones of his bonfire.
Uninformed, loyal and serving, the peasant communicated his
findings to his employers who, since those times, took hold
of the most wonderful silver, zinc, lead, and copper mines
in this part of the continent.
During the Republic, Daniel Alcides
Carrión, one of the most outstanding doctors of medicine
in Pasco, set a great example of professionalism and courage
in trying to help others. He inoculated himself with the wart
virus to study the effects and possible antidotes, but died
in the effort.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PASCO
Huayllay Stone Forest.
Located at 4,335 m.a.s.l. (14,222 ft), this fossilized forest
has an extension of 60 km² (23 sq ml). This natural beauty,
declared National Park in 1939, is a swarm of multiform rocks
molded by nature in a dazzling fashion. These rocks depict
a variety of figures, such as, elephants, human faces, beasts,
towers, sphinxes, dinosaurs, warriors, among many others.
Patarcocha Lagoon. It
is located in the outskirts of the city. The beautiful scenery
consists of nevados or snow-covered mountains, flora,
fauna, and an ideal fishing spot.
The Temple of San Miguel de
Chaupimarca. Founded in March of 1827, this temple keeps
valuable images of colonial times.
Oxapampa. A farming province
located in the Ceja de Selva (High Jungle), well-known
for its German settlers.
Pozuzo. This village of
European origin is located in the Oxapampa province. The local
people keep the ways of their ancestors.
Villa Rica. A location
of the Oxapampa province in the Jungle region of Pasco, it
is known for its coffee plantations.
Yanahuanca is the capital
of the province of Daniel A. Carrión. The Gollarisquiza
mineral bed is found in this area. Potatoes, oca and
barley are grown in abundance, as well as sheep stock farms.
Valles del Palcazu, Anacayali,
Neguachi y Pichis. Valleys noted for their farming production,
mainly fruit trees, and their stock farms.
Valle de Huancabamba.
A valley famous for its production of aguano, cedar,
oak, tornillo, ulcumano and alfaro lumber.
DISHES AND BEVERAGES
Pasco bases its cuisine on a great
variety of broths, soups, lamb and beef stews. Typical dishes,
such as the broth of lamb head, the patazca or mote
(stewed corn) soup, and the oca, bean, potato and
chupes (chowders), come from this part of the country.
Like in other regions of the
Sierra the specialty, however, is the pachamanca (barbecue).
The diversity of meats (beef, lamb, pork) added makes it a
dish with a variety of flavors.
The aguardiente is by
far the preferred drink because, as they say, it helps to
keep the body warm.
July 27 through 30. The
Pozuzo Tourist Week. This town commemorates the arrival
of the 300 settlers of European origin, who came mainly from
the Tyrol and Prussia. Festivals are held the 27 and 28 (coinciding
with the Peruvian Independence Day), where parades and the
traditional dances and ribbon tournaments take place.
August 25 through 31.
The Oxapampa Tourist Week. During this week the local
people honor their patron saint, Santa Rosa de Lima, for whom
they have built a beautiful chapel all made of local wood.
During these six days, trading fairs, parties, sport championships
and other contests are held.
October 8 through 14.
Villa Rica Tourist Week. A fair of regional farm products
and livestock takes place during this week. During the ribbon
tournaments, a blend of European traditions, mainly from the
Tyrol, young horsemen will try to string loops, placed in
high blockheads by the local young girls.
November 27. Anniversary
of Cerro de Pasco. Week-long celebrations, including
farm and livestock fairs, parades, dances and other activities.
December 7 through 10.
The religious festivity of the Immaculate Conception
takes place in Paucartambo during these days. Masses and novenas
are held, and traditional dances are performed by local bands.
The leading event is the procession in honor of the Immaculate
Conception. Later, the local people offer their best typical
dishes to all those present in the ceremony.
December 31. New Year's
Eve. The people of Pasco celebrate this day dancing to
the rhythm of the music of their local bands, and drinking
abundant beer and aguardiente. The traditional Baile de
los Negritos (dancers disguised as black men) is performed
by dancing groups swinging along the streets. They stop to
visit the homes where Nativity scenes have been arranged,
and are received with something to drink and eat.