Welcome to Huancavelica, a historic city nestled in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Founded in 1572 by the Viceroy of Peru Francisco de Toledo, Huancavelica is the capital of the department of Huancavelica and has a population of 49,570 people. Indigenous peoples represent a major percentage of the population. At an approximate altitude of 3,676 meters, the climate is cold and dry between the months of February and August with a rainy season between September and January.
Geographically, the Huancavelica area features highly varied elevation, from 1,950 metres in the valleys to more than 5,000 metres on its snow-covered summits. These mountains contain metallic deposits and are part of the western chain of the Andes, which includes the Chunta mountain range. Among the rivers of the region there are the Mantaro, the Pampas, the Huarpa, and the Churcampa, with the Mantaro River penetrating Huancavelica, forming Tayacajas Peninsula.
The city is known for its rich history of mercury mining, which was vital to the mining operations of the Spanish colonial era. The extraction of the quicksilver in the socavones (tunnels) was extremely difficult, and every day before the miners came down, a mass for the dead was celebrated. Due to the need for numerous hand-workers and the high rate of mortality, the Viceroy of Peru Francisco de Toledo resumed and improved the pre-Columbian mandatory service of the mita. The allotted concessions were rectangular, about 67x33m. Miners were divided in carreteros and barreteros. Due to the discovery and then the extraction of the azogue (mercury) in a hill close to the actual location of the city, the Santa Barbara mine became famous in the new world and its activity led to the Viceroy of Peru, Francisco de Toledo, to establish the city in 1572 with the name of Villa Rica de Oropesa.
Today, Huancavelica is a charming destination that is often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors. The city has monuments from the colonial era, most of them are churches in a number of eight, located in different parts of the city, of which the most important is the cathedral located at the main square. Another important site is the former Santa Barbara mine, located about three km. from the city on an ancient road that was famous during colonial times for the extraction of mercury. The main sporting stadium is the IPD Stadium of Huancavelica, which, at 3,676 meters above sea level, is one of the highest sporting stadiums in the world and has a capacity of 2,500 spectators.
Huancavelica is serviced by a train which runs between it and Huancayo known as el Tren Macho. According to popular saying, this train