VALLEYS AND GRAPES
402-m/1,226 ft above sea level.
The Department of Ica is located in the south coast of Peru. It borders to the north with Lima, to the south with Arequipa, to the east with Huancavelica and Ayacucho, and to the west with the Pacific Ocean. The weather is warm and dry all year round, with a maximum of 30ºC and a minimum of 8ºC.
The Department has an extension of 21,251 km² and a population of almost 550 thousand people.
The capital is Ica, surrounded by beautiful valleys, famous for its vineyards and the excellent quality of its wine production. Other important cities are Chincha, Pisco, Nasca, and Palpa.
A Brief History
Ica is an area of great historic past. The first settlers date from 10,000 years ago, from which the Wari, Nasca, Ica and Paracas cultures developed, the latter being the most important.
The Paracas culture developed from the seventh through the second century BC. Its matchless textile skills, trephinations, and the art of mummifying their dead distinguish it.
The Nasca culture, on the contrary, well known for its artistic pottery, in which colorful designs and representations excel over the form, the same as their famous lines and figures that have undergone implausible interpretations. This culture expanded from the second century BC through the seventh century AD. They have left us their wonderful aqueducts that made good use of underground water, of rivers and rain, showing a great knowledge of hydraulic engineering.
In the fifteenth century, during the Inca Empire, Pachacutec incorporated the territories of Ica, Nasca and the Chincha Valley.
Years later, in 1563, with the arrival of the Spanish, Jeronimo Luis de Cabrera founded the Villa de Valverde del Valle de Ica. Since then, the area became an important vineyard and cotton center.
During the independence war, General Jose de San Martin landed in Paracas and fixed his headquarters in Pisco to start the fight for the independence of Peru.
Main Attractions in Ica
Regional Museum of Ica
It houses a great collection of fossils, mummies, Paracas mantles, Nasca ceramics, and Colonial and Republican art pieces.
Dr. Cabrera Museum
This museum holds a valuable series of engraved stones representing primitive life scenes. This collection makes a good summary of the origin of the Peruvian civilization before the Inca Empire.
Only 5 km from the center of the city, it is a perfect oasis surrounded by dunes and palms in a unique landscape.
Vista Alegre Winery
Founded in 1857 by the Picasso family, it is one of the biggest wine cellars of the country, famous for its wine and pure pisco production.
Tacama Winery Farm
Wine production hacienda acknowledged internationally.
La Merced Church
It Is located in the main square; built in typical Colonial architecture has a beautifully carved altar decorated in gold leaf.
Among the most beautiful are the Marques de Torre in the Main Square and Casa Mendiola in Bolivar street.
Lord of Luren Sanctuary
A sanctuary for the patron of the city who’s venerated image is taken out in procession during Holy Week and the third week of October.
Paracas National Reserve
Located in the Province of Pisco, this reserve covers 335,000 hectares with the objective of housing and caring for several endangered species. Among these species, the sea lion, sea cat, Humboldt penguin, parihuanas or flamingos, turtles and an thousands of marine birds, as well as fish and dolphins.
To visit the Ballestas Islands , a rocky formation containing a very important marine fauna, visitors start off at the beautiful Paracas beach resort. On the way, you will se the mysterious huge drawing of the “Candelabrum”, etched in the desert sand hundreds of years ago.
Julio C. Tello Museum
At 5 km from Paracas beach, this museum houses ceramics and textiles representing daily life scenes as well as pieces showing the evolution of the Paracas culture. At a short distance, the necropolis of Cabezas Largas is found.
Archeological site located 2 km east of Nasca, with a large square, warehouses, ceremonial areas, barracks, niches, trapezoidal windows and other buildings.
Located 4 km from Nasca these remains are a complex system of underground aqueducts that facilitated taking advantage of underground water. It is an evidence of this culture’s technological development in the exploitation of the land.
8 km from Nasca, there are tombs desecrated by “huaqueros” (temple and tomb diggers) who have left skeletons, skulls and other remains out in the open.
17 km from Nasca, Cahuachi is an archaeological area comprising a series of adobe pyramids with open spaces or squares amongst them. In the early stages of the Nasca culture, it served as a ceremonial center.
At 145 km south of Ica, it is an area of approximately 500 km of Pampa, where the mysterious lines were discovered in 1927. The real dimension of these lines can be fully appreciated from the air. They represent diverse animal figures as a spider, a monkey, a dog, a lizard, a humming bird, and a condor. The dimensions of these figures vary from 15 to 300 m. high each.
The Maria Reiche Planetarium
Recently opened at the Nasca Lines Hotel, were visitors can learn about the meaning of the Nasca Lines and the Cosmo vision of the pre-Columbian civilizations.