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HUMAHUACA

JUJUY

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JUJUY

HUMAHUACA

Virgen de Punta Corral Humahuaca Jujuy  Argentina Travel At 2940 m.a.s.l. on the banks of the Río Grande River, and 127 kilometres from San Salvador de Jujuy, down Ruta Nacional Nº 9 National Routs, lays the place which is considered the historical capital of the Gorge, and the nerve centre of the Puna highland town circuits called Humahuaca.

It is a city of 6146 people, where daily life is wrapped in a legendary past, and its physical location is set in an imposing landscape frame.

Of a mild climate with a surface area of 4447 square kilometres the Department of Humahuaca is the most visited area within the borders of the Province of Jujuy. In the area there used to be an Inca "tambo" or a place for rest and the filling of supplies, where the priest Gaspar de Carvajal spent some time in 1549 during his travels in the region.

Cementery   Humahuaca Jujuy  Argentina TravelThe first Encomienda holder of Humahuaca was Juan Ochoa de Zárate, who founded the town in 1594; and in 1603, Father Melchor Martín became its first parochial priest, and the first in the Region.

Humahuaca probably was a prolongation of the pre Hispanic settlement on the banks of the same river and the irregular layout of the town following the indigenous ways survived for a long time.

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Quebrada
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Probably it was not until the XIXth century that the rectification and the delimitation through a new rectangular layout took place, but always with different sized blocks based on the churches of Santa Bárbara and San Antonio.

The last mentioned and the Plaza in front of it became the town centre.

Until the end of the XIXth century it was one of the most important colonial commercial centres of all of what then was called Alto Perú, present day Bolivia. Mining and cattle breeding are the main activities.

Road to Tumbaya Jujuy  Argentina TravelToday it is a place visited by travellers coming from San Salvador de Jujuy or Salta to stay just the day, although many decide to stay longer once they have seen the many opportunities for longer interesting excursions and experiences that offer themselves once there.

Humahuaca has kept its old style buildings and streets. Low adobe houses, narrow streets paved in stone and old colonial streetlights gives the traveller then sensation that time has stood still in this place. A place well worth walking around in and exploring on foot.

There are museums, monuments and handicraft markets to catch the eye of the traveller. A must is the Archaeological Museum as well as the regional Folklore Museum where one will find different traditional customs such as the making of the local Maize beer or Chicha, plant remedies, amulets, witchcraft, the carnival rites of burial and disinterment, masks, typical costumes and handicrafts.

During the carnival season, in February or March each year, Humahuaca becomes the carnival capital and centre for the whole Gorge area. This celebration starts off a few days earlier with the traditional coming together of musicians from all over the country, the so-called Tantanakuy.

The Carnival in Humahuaca, with the enthusiastic participation of the locals is one of the most famous in the country and attracts both domestic and foreign visitors. It lasts for eight days and the participants dress up in masks, colourful costumes and perform many local rites during this period.

In Humahuaca you will find a hospital, treated drinking water, civil registrar, fuel and a post office. The police have a Regional headquarters, a local police station and there exists an interesting infrastructure of accommodations, eating places and excursion opportunities.

TOURING THE CITY

The Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y San Antonio Cathedral
The church, consecrated to Our Lady of the Candlemas dates back to the year 1641. It has a gilded altar and a very old bell. Inside you will find art works of great value, such as the carved image of the Virgin herself as well as the paintings showing the 12 prophets by the hand of the famous painter of the historical Cuzco School of painting, Marcos Sapaca. It has been declared a National Historical Monument. It is located facing the Main Square and can be visited every day of the year at 08:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM and at 07:00 PM.

The Reloj del Cabildo Town Hall Clockwork
On the face of the Municipal Palace Town hall, facing the Main Square there is an old clock that moves a life size image of San Francisco Solano. Every day at noon, it opens its door for the statue to hand out its blessing to the city and the Gorge in remembrance of his voyage through the area in the XVIth century.

The clock: A piece of precision machinery of the highest quality made in Germany, wound up every six days, with counterweights and a precision pendulum with swings up to two metres length. It sounds the hours, half hours and quarters. It has four-minute faces complete with hands and transmissions. The whole piece of machinery weighs 1800 kilograms.

Bells: It has three bells of sonorous bronze of the best alloy, all plain without adornments and their corresponding clappers. The hour bell weighs approximately 900 kilograms and the other two (sounding the half and quarter hours) 350 and 280 kilograms respectively.

Door: It is made out of metal and automatically slides open on rails. It initiates the articulated movement of the statue at noon and midnight every day. (The door mechanism and articulations have an independent winding up mechanism that lasts eight days).

Mechanisms: The clock work mechanism allows for the following movements:
  1. Inclination of the head
  2. Inclination of the left arm towards the left and pointing at the earth.
  3. Elevation of the right hand towards heaven.
The Torre de Santa Bárbara Tower
It can be found on top of the Santa Bárbara Hill, to the left of the majestic Monument to Independence. The remnants of the tower of this church were used as a fort by the Spaniards, and as a lookout point by the Northern Independence Army. It was a battleground in 1837 during the war against the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederacy. At the end it was moved to give place to the Monument to Independence.

The Main Square and adjoining streets.
Around the small sized Main Square, there are shops belonging to the locals, which give the place its own particular scenery. In these different stands you will find handicrafts and clothing, such as ponchos and cloth made by hand. The traveller will also find around the square young people descendents of the Collas, offering up popular verses.

The Railroad Station
It is interesting to stroll through the vegetable, textile and handicraft stands close to the railway station. Yet another way to get to know the historical streets of this picturesque town.

THE SURROUNDING AREAS
The Huamhuaca Gorge Jujuy  Argentina Travel The imposing Quebrada de Humahuaca Gorge, an Argentinean paradise like countryside, has been declared a Cultural and natural Mankind Heritage Site by the UNESCO, and is the axis of this picturesque area through which the Río Grande River flows.

The Gorge is the background for a very particular human establishment, especially all related to the use of the land, and there is much archaeological, technological and landscaping evidence to this, dating back to prehistoric times till the present.

The Village of Palca de Aparzo and its Fort
It is located 55 kilometres from Humahuaca, down a dirt and gravel road flanked by a many hued landscape. Once in the Palca de Aparzo, a village steeped in its pure traditions, you can continue three kilometres further south to the impressive ruins of a fort, which, according to historians were the trenches used by the patriots in their fight for Independence at the gates of Zenta. There you will also find two mines extracting lead and barite called "Santa Ana" and "Gigante". Here you will also be able to buy handicrafts, such as rainproof sheep wools cloth, ponchos and ceramics. Access is through a dirt footpath.

The archaeological Site of the Inca Cave - Inca Cueva or Chulín
It is the most valuable collection of rock cave paintings in the area. Almost all the walls and roof are covered by paintings done in red, white and black colours. They are done in geometric shapes where big white circles stand out, looking like suns or eyes. It is located up in the Chulín side valley. You go up the valley until you find a red grindstone hill and on one of its sides there is a 40 metres deep cave. Access is through a dirt footpath.

The Archaeological Site of Peñas Blancas
Located two kilometres from Humahuaca, on the left bank of the Río Grande River, this site covers an area where one can see the remnants of big houses, on top of a hill and the small adjacent gullies. There are also cultivation terraces on the hillsides and in many cases, many of them holding subterranean oval storage silos. Access to the site is through a dirt footpath.

The Belgrano Watchtower
The tower was part of the old Humahuaca church, which, according to legend was used by General Belgrano, the creator of the National Argentinean flag, to spy on the royal troops. It was partially destroyed in the Battle of Humahuaca, in 1817. Access is through a road, which can be found just by the side of the Monument to Independence.

 


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