Definitions

mantaro

Mantaro Valley

The Mantaro Valley, with its main city of Huancayo, lies east of the capital of Peru, Lima. It is a fertile valley containing fields of corn, artichokes, carrots and potatoes, alongside which flows the Mantaro river. The Mantaro Valley is also renowned as an area containing many sites of archaeological importance. Nearby lies the important city of Jauja, the original capital of Peru.

History

It was inhabited by the Wanka (Huanca) people - a warlike race known for their cruelty towards their enemies. The Wanka people were eventually subdued during the reign of the Inca King Pachacutec, but in revenge for their oppression took sides with the Spanish during their conquest of Peru. Eventually the Spanish in their quest to suppress paganism, tired of their allies, and destroyed an important temple of the Wanka - Warivilca (A temple constructed some 1000 years ago near the town of Huari.)

Climate

The weather is divided into three distinct seasons - the rainy season from November to April, winter from May to July and the dry sunny season, with strong winds from August to October.

Local Crafts

In the valley are several small towns, each famous for its own particular craft. Hualhuas is known for its tapestries, blankets and sweaters, and where it is possible to see the craftspeople working at their weaving looms. Molinos is noted for woodcarving. San Jeronimo de Tunan is famous for its intricately designed and crafted silver filigree jewellery. Aco and Quilco specialise in ceramics and San Agustin de Cajas in hats of sheep wool. Mito has the tradition of making wooden masks, and Viquez has artisans who specialise in colorful belts and blankets. The twin towns of Cochos Grande and Cochos Chico are famous for their intricate carving on gourds, which are imported from other regions of Peru.

Main Ref. Ruben Gutierrez (Article in Rumbos. Vol II/ Issue 8, 2003)

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