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The Huancavelica region sports a rough geography with highly varied elevation, from 1,950 m in the valleys to more than 5,000 m on its snow covered summits. These majestic mountains contain metallic deposits. They consist of the western chain of the Andes, which includes the Chonta mountain range, formed by a series of hills.The city of Huancavelica is bordered by fertile fields and green pastures where cattle graze. These highlands were inhabited by the Waris and later by the warring Chancas. The area was finally incorporated to the Inca Empire. Following that period, the Spanish discovered silver and mercury mines, a reason for establishing themselves there. Currently, the city preserves its mansions and magnificent Colonial churches.
In the surrounding areas, there is the town of Santa Barbara with its old church and mines that have been used since Colonial times. You can also visit Izcuchaca, a center for pottery located seventy eight kilometers from Huancavelica where there are hot springs and an archeological site.
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In Colonial times, Huancavelica was the starting point of the renowned “Mercury Route” caravans of llamas and mules carried the precious, liquid metal in leather bags to the port of Tambo de Mora (In the region of Ica). From there, it was shipped to Arica (now in Chile) and on to the silver mines at Potosí (now in Bolivia).