Cajamarca is the capital of the department of the same name it is at a distance of 863 Km from Lima it has a moderate and dry climate, it is sunny during the day time. The rainy season is from December through to March.
Cajamarca is located in the northern Andean region of Peru. Where the northerly mountain range of the Andes is and which is the narrower and lower part of the rest of the country.
Cajamarca is one of the most important departments in the Peruvian history. Its origin goes back to the pre- inca times. This valley was the main center of the Caxamarca culture, reaching its peak development between the years 500 and 1000 a.C.
During inca Pachacutec's government these territories joined the Tahuantinsuyo empire around 1465 and turned into the administrative, military and religious center which was of great importance. During this time palaces and temples were constructed of which some relics are left, especially the one called The Ransom Room (Cuarto del Rescate). Cajamarca, which was the inca's favorite leisure resort due to its hot water springs and its wonderful climate; on November 16, 1532, turns into the most transcendental episode in the history of america.
On that date the conqueror Francisco Pizarro got to the actual Main square , which at that time had a triangular shape. He waited for Atahualpa, the last of the Incas, who was resting in his hot spring water steam bath. Next day, Atahualpa entered the square in ceremonial splendor in the midst of a great multitude. He was welcomed by Father Vicente Valverde who showed him a Bible. According to the chronicle, Atahualpa threw the sacred book to the floor due more to a lack of idiomatic comprehension than for lack of faith. The Spanish soldiers who had so far been hiding in the surroundings of the square, came out on horseback with fire arms causing the army to flee.
Atahualpa was judged as heresy and condemned to be hung, nevertheless, he was convicted to death to garrote. Atahualpa realized of the Spaniards greed and offered Pizarro to buy his liberty by filling the room where he was kept prisoner with gold and the two following rooms with silver, up to the level of the reach of his arm. Atahualpa paid the ransom , but all the same he was executed. This puts an end to the Tahuantinsuyo empire and the Conquest begins.
Tradition and Modern Times
Cajamarca is located on the skirts of Cerro Santa Apolonia and shows its Spanish influence architecture.
Designed following a checkerboard style , we find in it religious buildings from the XVII and beginning of XVIII century. The cathedral was built in the XVII century and has a sober outward appearance made of volcanic stone. It has five bells on its church towers, which were molten in the XVIII century; you can see in the nave of the church the images of the Virgen del Carmen, El Senor de la Buena Muerte, Santa Rosa de Lima and San Martin de Porres.
Cajamarca is an historic department and of extends landscape. Its agricultural fields produce potatoes, wheat, yuca and coffee. Jaen's coffee is very well known around the world. In Namora they breed trout and pejerreyes. Cattle breeding is very important. At present the department has over 600,000 head of cattle. It also produces barley and natural pasture. It is the main producer of corn in the country. Jaen has increased its macadamia nuts production in order to produce free cholesterol oil for human consumption. They also breed calves and sheep in big quantities as well as bulls for bullfights which are famous for this purpose.
Cajamarca holds the national record on the breeding of Cuyes of the 70 million produced in all the country. The Cuy has 21% proteins and nearly no cholesterol.
The Yanacocha gold mine is considered the second largest in the continent, this mine started its operation in July 1993, located 40 kilometers north of the city. Its production reached 550,000 ounces of gold in 1996.
The final product of this mine is nominated Dore gold bar: it has 60% gold, 30% silver and 10% impurity content.
The most ancient National Park of Peru is Cutervo, with an area of 2,500 hectares is located in the mountain range of Tarros, in the eastern region of the department. It shelters hundreds of species of vegetation and animals, one of the well known birds is the guacharo which nests in the caves of Cutervo discovered by Alexander von Humboldt in 1799.
The Province of Cajamarca
Cerro Santa Apolonia: Vantage-point and archeological remains; forestry park of Aylambo; Rock forest Los Frailones (Cumbemayo); Hot water springs: Los banos del Inca and Yumagual; Huacraruco hunting landmark; the Pariamarca and Llacanora settlers and the Tres Molinos farm. Archeological remains. Cumbemayo: water duct, rock formations and pre-Inca sanctuaries. Layzon: Preinca sanctuary and the Ransom room. Vireynal monuments: Belen: Church; Women and mens hospital now the Culture Institute; Church , convent and catacombs; Santa Catalina, at present Church and Chapel.
At San Pablo: Kuntur Wasi, ceremonial center pertaining to Horizonte Temprano; Montealegre, Tombs from the Cajamarca period III-IV; (pre-inca necropolis) . In Celendin: Sorochuco (rock formations); At Oxamarca (Chulpas pertaining to pre-inca times) and Chocta (archeological pre-inca remains).
In the San Andres district you will find the National Park of Cuero; the caves of San Andres, inhabited by guacharos settlers (bird in extinction); the towers of Llama; At Scoot (chulpas or pre-inca tombs) and the rock formation of Cerro Pilco.
The Cajamarca Carnival, which takes place during the months of February and March.
Easter (Holly week) , Easter Sunday at Porcon (17 km. North of Cajamarca), procession of the crosses (popular mystic tourism), also held at Contumaza, Cajabamba and Hualgayoc.
Corpus Christi, religious festivity of great solemnity, having the attendance of all the surrounding and far away towns.
San Juan's festivity, held on June 24, popular festivity in Chota, Cajamarca, Llacanora and San Juan. Agricultural and Artisan fair at the Banos del Inca held on July 24.
Tourist week of Cajamarca, held on the second week of October. All Saints, takes place in Cajamarca on November 1.