Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon


The Colca Valley is located in the province of Caylloma. Colca comes from the words Collaguas and Cabanas, two ethnic groups that lived along the Colca River. This canyon has a depth of 4,160 m, and is the fourth deepest canyon on the planet.

The province of Caylloma, generically designated as "Colca", is part of the department of Arequipa, in Peru, and is located in the extreme northeast of this region. The province has the Colca Canyon as its main stage and it is in its surroundings that the populations that identify it have settled.

Caylloma, whose name comes from one of the local towns, has an area of ​​11,990.24 km² and borders the department of Cuzco to the north, the provinces of Camaná and Arequipa to the south, and the department of Puno. to the east, with the province of Castilla to the west and the province of Condesuyos to the northwest.

In 2019, UNESCO declared the Colca Canyon and Andagua Volcanoes a global geopark. It is one of the largest tourist destinations in Peru.


The original "Witiwiti" dance by natives of Tapay.
Throughout thousands of years, man has occupied the Colca, and as a result of this occupation, samples of a culture that has contributed important contributions to humanity have remained.

Around 5000 to 6000 BC. C. hunters and gatherers roamed the area behind the herds of South American camelids and a series of plant species that were the basis of their diet. Cave paintings and stone tools have remained from this in different places. The presence of these manifestations throughout the area where the Kóllawas, Ccawanas and Ccaccatapay nations would later develop, shows a remote presence of hunter-gatherers in search of food, who gradually domesticated plants and animals as shown in the drawings (painting on engraving and reliefs) made in the Cueva de Mollepunco in Callalli, a rocky shelter that was occupied when the processes of domestication of camelids and the transformation of groups of hunters into breeders of South American camelids took place; On its walls there are paintings that represent the activities of collecting and hunting animals and also in the low relief engravings corals with camelids and men pulling them with ropes are represented.

After thousands of years, only through community work was it possible to carry out the task of overcoming the adversities of the environment and beginning to dominate nature. The Andean social organization made it possible for man to overcome the difficulties of this adverse geographic space and between 200 AD and 600 AD, after this long process of domestication of plants and animals, it passed to an agrarian economy in which the man of the Colca, begins to build platforms, developing a rainfed agriculture and in this way the Andean landscape was modified giving it a physiognomy peculiar.

As early as 600 AD to 900 AD the Wari Empire, coming from Ayacucho, made its appearance in all this part of the Andes, incorporating these towns into its administration. During this period, administrative centers were established that controlled the different valleys, rainfed agriculture gave way to the irrigation of terraces through canals, for which a whole constructive and hydraulic technology had to be used. Ccachulli (Tuti) and Achachiwa (Cabanaconde) stand out from this moment, probable administrative and ceremonial centers; agriculture was the economic activity of the inhabitants of the middle-low valley while grazing was the activity of the populations located in high areas.

The samples found in Cabanaconde are found in the wall that is known as "La Trinchera", built in stone, of great magnitude at the base of the wall and of lesser proportion in the upper part; some stones are worked, while others show a rough appearance, it runs along the slopes and summits of small mounds until it reaches the natural walls that form the canyon.

The site of Ccachulli (Tuti) also seems to correspond to this period, which shows structures with a circular plan and in the form of a vault in elevation. Said walls are made with double-row crushed stone, joined by clay; although it is necessary to clarify that the site has been used since remote times (late Pleistocene or hunter-gatherers).

The decomposition of Wari corresponds to the emergence of local societies that are separating from the imperial administration. It is then that the Collagua societies arise in the north and Cabana more to the south and the following manifestations have been found in this period:

Approximately in 1450, the Collaguas and Cabanas are incorporated into the Inca Empire by Túpac Inca Yupanqui. During that time Coporaque would have been the center of the Inca administration.

About the Inca presence in the area, a whole series of stories and traditions have been elaborated, such as the "Myth of the Incarri" that in the town of Chivay shows a variant that indicates that during the visit of the Inca Mayta Cápac, he was granting various benefits to the towns, such as barley and quinoa to Chivay; water to Maca; winds to Pinchollo; corn to Cabanaconde; gold and silver mines to Tisco; the cochayuyo to Sibayo; etc. These manifestations are related to the vertical control of different ecological floors that the ancient settlers achieved, as the basis of their economy and organization.

The entry of the Spaniards into the area occurs in 1535. The Colca inhabited the Colca at that time, the Collaguas and the Cabanas, for the process of distributing land to the Spaniards, three "repartimientos" were distinguished in the area, which were apparently organized according to the social organization of the existing lordships or curacazgos, that is, Yanquecollaguas, Laricollaguas and Cabana.