Huaraz is in north-central Peru, about 420 km north of Lima, and at an altitude of . It is the largest population center in the agriculturally important Callejón de Huaylas valley. The Callejón (in Spanish roughly meaning large valley or corridor) is a north-south valley bounded on the east by the Cordillera Blanca (permanent white snowcaps and glaciers) and on the west by the Cordillera Negra (no permanent snowcapped peaks or glaciers, hence black). The Cordillera Blanca includes Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru at and the third highest in the Western Hemisphere. Huascarán and the adjacent peak Huandoy in fair weather are clearly visible from Huaraz.
The Santa River flows north through Huaraz. It is not commercially navigable but has always furnished the city with good water. The river is a rocky-bottom narrow stream of glacier-fed cold water that flows generally west of center in the Callejón, running north to the valley's north end. There it rushes downward through the narrow Cañón del Pato (duck canyon), turns westward at the town of Huallanca, and continues to the coast where it enters the Pacific Ocean south of the city of Chimbote. The Santa River is the traditional west boundary of Huaraz, although part of the city's population has lived on the west bank there for as long as two centuries.
The nominal north boundary of Huaraz is along a westward flowing creek that empties into the Santa River. The creek, whose watershed is the westward facing nearby foothills and slopes of the Cordillera Blanca, has twice since 1940 been the channel of two devastating earthquake-precipitated floods (see below).
The most recent devastating flood and avalanche along this creek bed was a result of the 1970 earthquake. The avalanche of 1941 had filled the creek valley with debris, covering the new suburb on the city's north edge. The 1970 avalanche and floodwaters down this creek valley destroyed the city's north-side subdivision, which had been partially rebuilt by the late 1960s. The 1970 avalanche debris also created a temporary natural dam across the Santa River, which barrier caused flooding throughout much of the city. The quake had wrecked almost all the city's major buildings. Over the next few days the city was devastated by flooding from both the creek and the river and by water-borne earthquake debris.
The urban area of Huaraz is located at the Santa River basin. The environment characteristic of the city belongs to an Andean valley. Huaraz is located in the Callejón de Huaylas valley, surrounded by the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra as its system mountains. The main river is the Santa which crosses the city from south to north, and also the Qillqay river that crosses the urban area from east to west, flowing to the Santa river.
The territory surrounding Huaraz is heterogeneous, mountainous and rough; because of that its slopes have gradients varying between 2% and 25% in the central zone and 15% and 45% in the outskirts.
Huaraz in its beginning had an architecture composed of circular houses, after that, them was demolished in order to build square houses and narrow streets on a grid plan. The main square used to be wide and was signed at downtown, it was surrounded by the Big Cathedral, the city hall, the jail, the governor in colony times establish his residence in Huaraz, for that reason was elevated to the category of region capital.
Of the quiet, silent, old city with big mansions made of mud and gabled-roofs with narrow streets, only José Olaya street remains. It was declared a national heritage site, because the 1970s earthquake destroyed 95% of the city and all the traditional and colony architecture disappeared, except Olaya Street, robbing the city of its traditional identity.
The grid plan of Huaraz has changed and disappeared the original composition of four neighbourhoods, as La Soledad (downtown), Belén, Huarupampa and San Francisco.
For its rebuilding after the earthquake, the government had to demolish the damaged houses. After that, the city was planned with a modern physiognomy like wide streets and avenues with central gardens. Colony architecture doesn't exist, it was modernized in its own Andean style of gabled roofs. The city has a modern and planned design, made for Gunther-Seminario Company. Despite that the city grows in a disorganized way. In the other hand, the city had a great commercial movement, and good-quality touristic services, so the fast process of urbanization, had the consequence of irregular neighbourhoods.
The city grew in a longitudinal way from north to south, Only in central downtown there are buildings with more than 3 or 4 floors. Many of the buildings were modified, in order to rent apartments and lofts.
The metropolitan area is composed of two districts, Huaraz and Independencia. These are also divided into neighborhoods and settlements, and they also are divided in two or more parts. the majority of neighborhoods are located in Huaraz District, especially the traditional areas like La Soledad, Belén, Huarupampa and San Francisco, that are surrounding the downtown, and its residents are in 60% the traditional citizens of Huaraz. This neighbourhoods, are in great part from middle class. On the other hand, surrounding these areas, there are other settlements that have developed without planning. In the District of Independencia there are other middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. Centenario is the most extensive area in the city. At this area many rural migrants has established developing informal neighbourhoods. The tendency of city's growing is on the north-east part of the city. In north direction has developed areas of recent creation, especially for people searching an ecological area for establish.
Huaraz has a warm moderated weather of tropical mountain, It is sunny and dry during the morning and cold past the evening, with temperatures between 11-17°C and maximum temperatures that could overpass 21°C. Rains can be more than 500 mm but less than 1000 mm.during Raining season between December until march. The dry season is also known as "Andean summer".
Chavin de Huantar
Av. Luzuriaga 780
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