Hatun Xauxa increased in excellence, being one of the most important cities of the empire. It was thought of as the strategic center for all demographic, military and economic movement in the region. Here, as elsewhere, the Inca’s policy was a civilizing and tolerant one. When the Inca Huayna Capac died in Quito, his body was embalmed and they transferred it to Cusco, but in the course of the journey they paused in Xauxa, because it had been loyal to his cause. When civil war broke out between the brothers Huascar and Atahualpa (both of them Huayna Capac´s heirs), the Xauxas supported Huascar, the eldest brother, but he was defeated and after a series of trials was taken as a prisoner to a fortress, from where he would later be thrown into the Mantaro River.
The Spanish conquest changed the course of history and the fate of the town, new cities were founded, towns repopulated, and a number of churches were built. On April 25th 1534 Jauja was founded and construction work was begun immediately on the main church by order of Francisco Pizarro. The temple was completed in October of the same year.
The historical importance of Jauja lies in the role it played throughout history, from ancient times to the present day; it must be remembered that it was the site of Peru’s first capital, before it was transferred to the valley of the River Rimac, where the city of Lima was founded one year later.
At present Jauja is the capital of the province of the same name. It is a quiet city with remnants of both the Inca and Spanish periods, in which beautiful, thick-walled mansions with spacious patios stand, as well as a resplendent central plaza and a main church that boasts two enormous naves and a great central altar.
In addition Jauja has a church called Cristo Pobre (Poor Christ) which is nothing less than a small replica of the church of Notre Dame in Paris.
One of the most beautiful spots in all Jauja is the Paca lagoon, surrounded by hills and golden crops, whose waters reflect the metallic light of the late afternoon. It is said that in this lagoon lie eleven thousand llamas laden with gold and silver that were thrown there by the Incas when they learned of the death of Atahualpa.
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