The Territorial Prelature of Ayaviri is located in a beautiful landscape in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Natural beauty, the charm and kindness of the local people, and a deep religiosity are characteristic of the inhabitants of the Prelature of Ayaviri.
The magnificent Cathedral as many other old churchs have the beauty of peruvian barroque and show valuable paintings of Colonial times. The population of 250,000 persons is 90% Roman Catholic. But people are very poor, having just a subsistence economy.
A great number of people are farmers, many of them dedicating to livestock care. Herds of beautiful alpacas can be seen running freely in the large extension of land.
There is a very good highway that comes from Cuzco and goes all the way to Juliaca. The rest of the roads are not so good. If one wants to travel inside the Prelature one has to use a 4 x 4 to drive, or use the public transportation.
To reach the city of Ayaviri there is also a train from Cuzco, as well as one from Arequipa. You can fly to the city of Juliaca from Lima or Arequipa in modern jets, and then take the highway to Ayaviri, that is just a 40 minutes drive from there. There are daily flights.
About 8 miles from Ayaviri you have one of the marvels of nature, the Rock Forrest in Tinajani. Nature has made impressive stone formations in Ayaviri, depicting fantastical shapes. Some of the rocks are more than 150 feet in height.
The valley itself is a great site making it a jackpot for photographers as for trekking enthusiasts. Being a canyon, formed by two huge masses of rocks, the surroundings of Tinajani are also suitable for rock and mountain climbing. Nearby you have the Pojpojquella thermal baths that are also very popular.
The ancient pyramidal temple of Kalasaya is also a site to visit. Its remanings go back to the once famous Pucará Culture. The Pucará ceramics are still hold in high regard in nowdays.
The weather is usually cold and dry. An average temperature is 48°F, but in the winter in can go down to 37°F.
Frequent carnivals with colorful and artistic dances, as traditional fairs are part of the live in the highland cities of the Prelature of Ayaviri. In June, in the canyon of Tinajani, people from diferent towns and cities gather to participate in a Dance Festival were different tradicional dances take place, like the Wifalas, K'aichas and Uncacos.
During September's first two weeks many festivals take place to honor the Virgin of High Grace. In those days the visitor can participate in highland style bullfights in the city of Ayaviri.
A special date is september 8th, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the city becomes specially colorful with the celebrations, where beside religious devotions the visitors can see the famous Taripakuy dance.
If someone is really wanting an adventure he can visit the old gold mines in Carabaya, climbing to more than 15,000 thousand feet, one of the areas of the Prelature, and then visit the beautiful stone town of Cuyu-Cuyu, at a height of seven thousand feet. There one can be served traditional food and beverages.
Adventure, dances and folklore, astonishing landscapes, remanians ancient cultures, marvelous paintings and religious architecture from colonial times, herds of cows, sheeps, llamas and alpacas, actual spiritual and religious experiences can all be part of the adventure of visiting the people of the Prelature of Ayaviri.
The Virgen of the Alta Gracia (High Grace) is the main devotion in the Prelature, and its feast is a wonderful expresion of filial devotion to Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother.
Bishop Kay Martin Schmalhausen, S.C.V. on the day of his consecration as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.