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Cajamarca

Cajamarca conjures up images of fertile fields stretching along the roadside and climbing up the hillsides and across the highland plains and ravines.The city of Cajamarca, considered the Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Americas, was transformed by the Inca empire into an important administrative, military and religious center.

Cajamarca Church

On November 16, 1532, Cajamarca witnessed a key date in the history of the Americas, when a band of Spanish soldiers led by Conqueror Francisco Pizarro took Inca ruler Atahualpa captive. The Spanish chroniclers claimed he filled a chamber (the Ransom Room) with gold and twice over with silver to as far as he could stretch his hand. Today a line runs round the room showing where to what point the treasure stacked up.

The city reflects Spanish influence in its architecture, such as the Cathedral, the churches of San Francisco, Belen and La Recoleta, and the two-storey houses with twin-eaved roofs. To the east of the city lie the Baños del Inca, the natural hot springs which the Inca ruler was fond of. The district also features the Ventanillas de Otuzco, a complex of burial caves carved out in pre-Inca times.

The province of San Pablo is home to two major archaeological complexes: Cumbemayo, a set of ceremonial altars and Inca aqueducts, and Kuntur Wasi, a ceremonial complex of several squares and platforms held up by huge stone walls.

North of the city is Granja Porcon, a dairy farm where travelers can take part in farming chores. The farm is famous for its herd of cows which are still called by name at milking time.

Carnival time in Cajamarca is among the most famous festivals in February in Peru. The townspeople are an easy-going, amiable folk, and carnival time involves entire neighborhoods and institutions until the end of the festival, when the participants symbolically bury Ño Carnavalon, the king of the carnival. The celebrations go on for around a month, but there are eight main days, when participants are often doused with water.


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