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The Historic Centre of Cajamarca

Date of Submission: 15/02/2002
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Delegacion Permanente del Peru ante la UNESCO
Coordinates: Lat. 7°09'12" S / Long. 78°30'57" W
Ref.: 1646

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Cajamarca is the setting of the encounter between the culture of Spain and the Andean world. The layout of the city and its buildings, both civil and religious, built of adobe and volcanic stone within the Historic Centre of Cajamarca, offer an exceptional testimony of Spanish-Andean culture. The architecture, which is unique and covers every century from the 16th to the 19th, makes the city centre of Cajamarca a monument of great cultural value. In the fifteenth century the city of Cajamarca became part of the Tawantinsuyo (Inca Empire) when the Kingdom of Cuismanco was conquered by the Inca Pachacutec. Cajamarca retained its importance since for the conquering incas it was considered to be "head of a province". A body of functionaries who controlled this vast and rich region of the empire resided here. From this period dates the "Ransom Room" which is still standing, and is the one remaining vestige of the lnca domination of Cajamarca. It was here that Atahualpa was held prisoner and also where he offered his Spanish captors the famous ransom of gold and silver in order to obtain his freedom. In the area around the Historic Centre of Cajamarca there are a number of archaeological monuments of exceptional historic importance. These are: THE TEMPLE 0F HUACALOMA (1500 BC). These remains lie 2 kilometres south east of the city and belong to a sanctuary with walls of stone or volcanic rock covered with white plaster. THE TEMPLE OF LAYZON. A ceremonial centre some 7 kilometres to the south west of Cajamarca. At the summit of the hill there is a square pyramid measuring 40 metres by 40, on top of which there once stood a circular building that was the principal temple. CUMBE MAYO. A group of archaeological remains which include a pre-Inca water channel and a variety of lithics. These lie amongst the slopes of the mountain known as "Cumbe". 14 kilometres to the south west of the city at 3,500 metres above sea level. THE "VENTANILLAS" (SMALL WINDOWS) OF OTUZCO. These are to be found 7 kilometres to the north east of the city and constitute a cemetery which is one of the most characteristic and special archaeological monuments of the area. These remains belong to what is known as "Cajamarcan Culture" (11th to the 15th centuries AD). SANTA APOLONIA. This hill lies 200 metres to the south of the Plaza de Armas (the principal square of the city) and at the top are to be found some carved stones known as "The Seats of the Inca". In fact they were sacrificial altars for agricultural religious rites in the pre-Inca period. Furthermore, mention must be made first of the thermal and medicinal waters to be found in "Baiios del Inca" (The Baths of the Inca) where there is to be found the "Pool of the Inca". Secondly there is the picturesque scenery of the valley of Cajamarca.