Peru, Ica, Oasis

The Ica is located in the central south coast of the Peruvian seaboard. It is considered the center where the important pre-inca civilizations Nasca (300 years b.C.) and Paracas (700 years b.C.) developed.

The city was founded in 1563 by Geronimo Luis de Cabrera as Villa de Valverde. On August 15, 2007, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake occurred off the coast of Peru, severely affecting Ica.

Ica is known as an area of sand, sea, oases and valleys, the cradle of Peru's Creole culture, saints and medicine men, where the best pisco brandy is distilled and where religious fervor is strong in the worship of the Señor de Luren or the Yauca shrine.

Ica also has one of the best places to see pre-columbian artefacts in Peru, in the Ica Regional Museum.

In prehistoric times, Ica was occupied by people of the Paracas and Nazca cultures. They were skilled weavers and developed complex (and still functional!) irrigation systems to harness the available water. Even today, people in the area are very careful with water and the watertowers you see everywhere are reminders of the importance of water in this desert climate. The area had a pretty uneventful history until the fifteenth century, when it was taken over by the Incas, under the Inca Pachacútec. Then, in 1563, the Spanish conquistadors founded the city of Villa de Valverde de Ica (City of the Green Valley of Ica) and exploited the area's agricultural possiblities by growing cotton and vines. Finally, in 1820, Peruvian independence was declared in the main square in Ica.

Ica celebrates three major events: the Wine Festival (Ica is home to many vineyards which produce excellent wines and pisco) and the festivals of the Señor de Luren and the Virgen del Carmen of Chincha. This is a good time to try typical Ica dishes and sweets, as well as to visit the town of Cachiche, famous for its folk healers who are said to be able to cure all kinds of ills.


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