ICA NAZCA AND PARACAS

ICA
The city of Ica is located in the central South of the Peruvian coast 306 km to the south of Lima, and is the capital of the department of Ica, its climate is warm and dry with an average temperature in summer of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and winter of 68 degrees Fahrenheit with a maximum temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

History
Ica was inhabited by towns pertaining to the cultures Paracas and Nazca, and were characterized to rationally handle the water and desert lands. Also, they excelled by its singular skill in the manufacture of ceramics, weaves, carvings of wood, metallurgy, jewels and by the fishing of innumerable marine species. After the domination of Ica by Pachacutec in the XV century, some population establishments in all the valley, whose aim was to assure the tribute of farming products to the imperial capital of the Tahuantinsuyo. The 17th of June of 1563, Don Luis Jeronimo de Cabrera founded the first Hispanic settlement with the name of Villa of Valverde de Ica. Five years later the population moved to another place because of the earthquakes and acquired the new name of San Jerónimo de Ica. Finally, after successive changes, settles down in the place that it is at the time and it is recognized as a city.

One of the most important events of this time took place in the main square of the city on the 20th of October of 1820, when Juan Jose Salas, mayor of Ica, gave proclaimed liberty in Peru. Ica offers colorful vineyards of its countryside, their warehouses, an extraordinary desert with dunes and the enigmatic lines of Nazca. Also, they emphasize the impressive natural landscape of the National Reserve of Paracas and the oasis of Huacachina. Another one of its innumerable attractiveness is the variety of its religious and popular celebrations.

Main Attractions
Cathedral of Ica - It dates from the XVIII century and initially formed part of the monumental assembly of the Compania de Jesus.
Señor de Luren Sanctuary
- It is a neoclassic style and is characterized to have three vestibules with brick arcade. Señor de Luren is the patron of the city and its venerated image leaves in procession on Easter time and on the third week of October.

Regional Museum of Ica - It keeps valuable archeological pieces of the Paracas , Nazca, Wari, Ica and Inca. In the second floor linen cloths and furniture of the virreynal and republican times are exhibited.

Engraved stones Museum - There is a collection of engraved stones with millenary scenes of human activities. Collector Dr. Javier Cabrera Darquea, based on his findings maintains that Ica was the first settling of Peruvian culture.

The Surroundings of the City

Huacachina Lake -
Located 5 Kms. Southeast from the city of Ica. An attractive tourist resort the water of the lake has healing properties. The landscape is of great beauty and is surrounded by high dunes, palms and aged huarangos.

Town of Cachiche - located 4 Kms. South of Ica , known for its "witches" who from last centuries cure all types of evils and harm. Its reputation in this sense is so, that an allusive statue exists at the entrance of the town , put on a log of huarango.

"Los Frailes" Stone Forest - Located 5 Kms. East of Ica in the district of Parcona. They are river rocks with strange shapes caused by the wind. They emphasize the figure of a torture, the head of a monkey, the chullo, a frog, a rodent and a fish.

Folklore
The department of Ica is a cradle of the afro-Peruvian dances created by the slaves brought from Africa for the agricultural tasks. They represent one of the cultural and artistic but rich expressions of the country. In the country side of Ica the Cock fights are very popular, in which beautiful roosters fight with skill and strength while people make side bets for the winner. In the town of Cachiche and the rural areas of Ica the folk medicine is practiced. The experience of its healers is known nation wide.

NAZCA
The Lines and Figures of Nazca (Pampas of San Jose)

The old settlers of the Nazca culture have bequeathed us a valuable archeological monument constituted by an enormous network of lines and animal drawings and plants located between Kms. 419 and 465 of the Pan-American highway, that covers approximately an area of 350 sq. Kms.. It was discovered in 1972 by Toribio Mejia Xesspe, studied by Paul Kosok, Hans Horkheirmer and the German Dr. Maria Reiche, who has resided in the zone for over 50 years studying and investigating its origin. The over flight of the Nazca lines is an unforgettable experience. A 12 meters High viewpoint exists from which the figures of "The Hand" and "The Tree" can be appreciated. The flight over the Nazca Lines is a "must" to appreciate these incredible designs.

The Aqueducts
They belong to the Nazca culture (550 AC) and they are located in the Nazca Valley, Taruga and Trancas. They are true filter galleries constructed with walls of rolled stone and ceilings of laja of stone or trunks of huarango and in some cases flow several Kms. Under surface at a depth of about 12 mts.

Pampa Galeras
Located 80 Kms. From Nazca. National Reserve of the beautiful native Vicuña of Peru whose fine and rich wool is very much appreciated. This animal symbolizes the wealth of the Peruvian fauna in the national shield.

PARACAS
The National Reserve of Paracas
Located 250 Kms. South of Lima (3 hours trip), it has an extension of 335,000 hectares. The purpose of this reserve is to protect and avoid the extinction of the species. It is the only protected area of Peru that has a scope of a marine ecosystem. From the Hotel Paracas and from the port of Paracas, boat excursions are available to the Ballestas islands to closely appreciate the sea lions, penguins, flamingos and sea gulls.

Water Sports.- The National Reserve of Paracas offers good conditions for deep sea diving and fishing, windsurfing, water skiing and camping.

The Candlestick.- It is known as "Three Crosses" or "Trident" it has an extension of over 120 Kms. Located northeast from the Paracas bay, between the Martin and Taipo beaches.

The Cathedral.- It is between the Yumaque and Supay beaches, its an impressive and extraordinary rocky formation that has been drilled by the water and the wind and inside you can find the marine cat or chingungo, that is a species on the way to extinction as well as some marine birds.

Site Museum "Julio C. Tello".- Located 22 Kms. South from the city of Pisco. It is beside the National Reserve Interpretation Center of Paracas. The content of the sample in exhibition of the Paracas culture includes representations and collections of ceramics and weaves of this culture.

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