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Situated in the northern highlands at an altitude of 2,650 metres, Cajamarca was one of the biggest cities in the Inca Empire and it was the scene of the first showdown between the Spanish and the Incas. Here the Inca emperor, Atahualpa, was ambushed and captured by Pizarro and despite their huge numerical inferiority, the heavily armed Spaniards took advantage of a divided Inca kingdom to launch this audacious attack. The Incas tried to save their leader by collecting the huge ransom demanded by the Spanish but this proved futile as the conquistadores executed the Inca leader as soon as the treasure had been handed over. Cajamarca’s turbulent past is belied today by its provincial calm and the city is better known for its community of poets, writers, artists and musicians and its beautiful colonial architecture.

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