Huaraz (Spanish pronunciation: [wa??a?] or [wa??as]) founded as San Sebastian de Huaraz, is a city in Peru. It is the capital of the Ancash Region (State of Ancash) and the seat of government of Huaraz Province. The urban agglomeration's population is distributed over the districts of Huaraz and Independencia. The city is located in the central part of the Callejon de Huaylas Valley and on the right side of the river Santa, in addition the city has an elevation of approximately 3050 metres. The agglomeration has an extension of 8 km2 and a population of 120,000 inhabitants, making it the second largest city in the central Peruvian Andes after the city of Huancayo, and the 22nd largest city in Peru. Huaraz is the headquarters of the province's Roman Catholic Bishop and the site of his official cathedral.
Huaraz is the main financial and commerce center of the Callejón de Huaylas and the main tourist center of Ancash region, moreover, is one of the important cities in the Peruvian Andes. Huaraz is the main place of winter sports and adventure. Many visitors from around the world arrived to the city for practicing sports as climbing, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding and also to visit the glaciers and mountains of the Cordillera Blanca, mainly the Huascarán snow peak, that is considered the highest mountain in tropics, all of them located in Huascarán National Park that is a nature world heritage site by UNESCO.
The origins of the city came before the Inca Empire with the development of some human settlements surrounding the valley of the Santa River and Qillqay. Its Spanish occupation occurred in 1574 as a Hispanic-indigenous reduction. During the Independence of Peru, the whole city supported the Liberty Army with food and guns, gaining the city the motto of "Noble and Generous City" named in that way by Simón Bolívar. In 1970, 95% of the city was destroyed by an earthquake that damaged a great part of Ancash Region. 25,000 people died. The city was supported with great international help by many countries. For this reason the city was named as a capital of International Friendship.
The main economic activities in the city are agriculture and tourism, because Huaraz has tourist infrastructure supporting the Ancash Highlands, the city is the main point of arrival for practicers of adventure sports and mountaineering. Along with the snow peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, one can visit archaeological sites as Chavín de Huantar and the eastern highlands of Ancash, known as Conchucos.
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