Roman's trip to the andes - spring 2010 travel blog

Cajamarca Plaza de armas

City view

Cumbe Mayo

Aqueducts bridge


Well, after my bone shaking one day trip to Lima I was in need for some days doing nothing. Thats what I really like on my trip, the freedom having no fixed iterinary and just spend some unbusy days.

As initially coming down from Ecuador one month ago I spared all the north of Peru I decided to use my remaining time to see some of its places.

So first I directed to the city of Cajamarca, another 16 hour night bus ride....another bone shaker as first a nice road leads up the coast changing then into another one in a sorry state going up the andean hills to my destiny. But finally I made I there....

Cajamarca is a very historical place, as here 1532 for the first time europeans and incas met, when Pizarro captured incas king, Atahualpa. As a ransom filling a large room once with gold and twice with silver was offered, hence this was actually done later Atahualpa was killed. The story of the conquest is very interesting if you are somehow interested in history - John Hemmings book ´The conquest of the Incas´is very recommendable.

Whatever you might think of the conquistadores, as they for sure were acting in greed of precious metal, destroyed and melted down artefacts of immense artistic value and some of them treated bad the natives, I think I would admit that they for sure were very brave.

Its so unbelievable they conquered with maybe 160 men against armies of 40000 to 80000 men, even considering having much superior arms and horses. There were probably many soft factors helping them, like internal civil war, support from tribes suppressed by the incas.

Back to Cajamarca, its located in a nice mountain valley, surrounded by high mountains. The city itself has nice colonial buildings, with a big Plaza de armas, where probably the capture of Atahualpa took place.

Close to Cajamarca there is the worlds biggest open pit gold mine, Yanacocha, at 4500 meters height. The hills here contains large quantities of gold, but you have to wash it out. Therefore the mine had a lot of bad publicity regarding pollution and how they treat the people. Since some time its said they try to improve their processes and give back more value to the locals, hope that is true.

I tried to visit the mine, but it was not possible for now.....there are rumours of some recent strikes, so they might not want publicity.....

So I went to a tour to Cumbe Mayo, located in the hills, its a place that has been used by ancient tribes for spiritual activities, it consists of a lot of natural rock formations in all imaginable shapes. In some of them you can find places where they did their sacrifies.

Also in that surroundings there still can be found a system of preincean aqueduct, whose construction is quiet impressive, considering its perfect worked angles and taking in account the tools this people had available.

In the afternoon I did a visit to the Ventanillas de Otuzco, some preincean bury windows close to the city. Honestly I was a little bit disappointed, as I expected a much bigger place ;-)

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