History and Cajamarca's geography
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. 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, Belén 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 Porcón, 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.
Province of Cajamarca
The Cathedral Also called Church of Santa Catalina
Built between 1682 and 1762, of beautiful front, abundant in arches and finely carved stone columns, its interior is austere with churrigueresque altars. Located in front of the Main Plaza.
San Francisco´s Church
Also called Church of San Antonio, XVI Century it is an architectural jewel, temple of plateresque Baroque style. It was one of the first churches built by the Spaniards in Peru. Its front of finely carved stone, with three entrance doors, in its interior outstands its altars and pictorial works. It is located in front of the Main Plaza and in front of the Cathedral.
Church of Belen
Concluded in 1744 by José Morales, it has one of the most beautiful fronts, carved in stone, with columns, arches, vaults and statues. It is a church of a single nave, and in its interior the most important thing is the dome carved in stone with polychromed figures.
Church The Recoleta
Beautiful Baroque temple built between 1668 and 1678, possesses a single nave and three cloisters. Its front differs from the other churches of Cajamarca. The artistic wealth of its interior was sacked during the "Guerra del Pacífico" (Pacific War) (1879-83).
Place located on the top of a hill in the south area of the Cajamarca city. In its summit a prehispanic "adoratorio" (place where people went to adore their Gods) carved in the rock, and a seat so that the Inca observed the whole valley. The Spaniards built the chapel of Santa Apolonia there. In 1900 a cross was placed to celebrate the arrival of a new century. Beautiful view of the whole city and the valley. You can go there walking from the Main Plaza, using the perrons of 2 de Mayo Street.
After the encounter between Inca Atahualpa and the Spanish Conqueror Francisco Pizarro and his army on November 16th , 1532, Atahualpa was arrested and imprisoned in his own royal room. The Spaniards with hunger of wealth, offer Atahualpa´s freedom in exchange of gold. Atahualpa offered to fill the room with gold once and twice with silver as high as his extended hand could reach, and so he did. He collected the gold and silver from all over Tahuantinsuyo. Anyway, Pizarro ordered the execution of the Inca. This wealthy rescue is considered the most important ever paid in the human history.
The room in which all this happened, today called "Cuarto de Rescate" (Rescue Room), was destroyed by the Spaniards, by the ends of XIX century and rebuilt at its original way, with ashlar and trapezoidal graves. It is located at Amalia Street No. 750, two blocks next to the Main Plaza.
(in Quechua language that means fine river) Located 21 km (13 miles) south west of Cajamarca, the highway that leads to it is half asphalted and the other half is not. This archaeological deposit belongs to the Caxamarca culture (XI Century), the biggest megalithic construction in America, covers an area of 25,000 sq/mt. There exist a fortress, sanctuaries and caves with stone carvings.
Forest of rocks, capricious geologic formation, with strange figures, some look like human faces and reaching up to 20 m (65.6 feet) height; figures of stone carved exist and are located very near the archaeological location Cumbe Mayo. Called this way for the big figures that also exist and they seem to be priests in eternal procession. Located 21 km (13 miles) south west of Cajamarca.
Windows of Otuzco
Archaeological center of the Caxamarca culture, located 8 km. (4,9 miles) north east of Cajamarca. Is a big necropolis of megalithic construction; the graves had been sculpted in the rock, superposed one on top of the other and protected against the rain with narrow channels. There are also galleries of graves that have 10 m. depth. Some rocks are carved with animal shapes.
Located 5 km. (3.1 miles) east of Cajamarca, at the district of the same name. This is a place of warm medicinal springs, in which the Inca built pools and rooms for healing and resting. Being one of those for the exclusive use of the Inca, that still now is well preserved. In the areas around of "Baños del Inca", you may find contemporary constructions to obtain the benefits of the medical springs as a watering place.
Windows of Combamayo
Archaeological center of the Caxamarca culture, located 25 km. (15.5 miles) north east of Cajamarca, their characteristics are similar as the ones described in Ventanillas de Otuzco.
Province of Cutervo
The National Park of Cutervo
The Caves of San Andres, inhabited by colonies of guacharos (endangered bird). The Towers of Llapa, in Socota (chulpas or pre-Inca tumbs). And the Forest of Stones of Cerro Pilco. National Park of Cutervo, located at 260 kilometers from Cajamarca. A park devoted to the preservation and protection of flora and fauna from the mountain range of Los Tarros.
Province of San Ignasio
National Sanctuary Tabaconas Namballe
Located at 110 kilometers from Jaen, in the county of Cutervo. A Sanctuary devoted to preserving and protecting a foggy forest with flora and fauna of that region.
Province of San Pablo
Centro Ceremonial Kuntur Wasi
To 93 km to the northeast of the city of Cajamarca (3 hrs in car). More than a thousand years ago, in the hamlet of La Conga (San Pablo, Cajamarca) the villagers built the first ceremonial center on La Copa hill. In doing so a great deal of work was required to modify the original shape of the hill, providing platforms and open spaces that we now call plazas. On one of the walls is the painted the figure of a jaguar with human characteristics, whose canine teeth, thick lips and square eyes tell of a cult in the process of expansion which, with the passage of time would be found over much of what is now Peru. Half a century ago (in 1946), pupils of Julio C. Tello found around ten stone monoliths and a grave - which had been robbed - containing a number of gold objects. There was nothing to indicate the presence of hidden treasure at this altitude. Accustomed as we are to finding precious metals in tombs on the coast, Kunturwasi, green and located in the peaceful northern highlands, did not appear to be the reservoir of culture that we now know it to be.