• Melgar

    • Tinajani

    • Sandia

    • Untuca

    • Sandia

    • Masiapo

Territory

A territorial prelature… is a certain portion of the people of God which is defined territorially and whose care, due to special circumstances, is entrusted to some prelate… who governs it as its proper pastor just like a diocesan bishop.
- Code of Canon Law, c. 370

On July 30, 1958, Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Letter Ex illis Diocesibus officially created the Prelature of Ayaviri. It was constituted in the region of Puno by the political provinces of Melgar, Carabaya and Sandia, a total area of 32,000 sq. Km, or 12,392 sq. miles.

The territory has a great geographic variety, with altitudes ranging from about 600 m (1,970 ft.) on the Tambopata and Yanahuay River Valleys to its highest point, Mount Ananea, at about 5852 m (19,200 ft.). Such differences also give the region a very wide climatic variety.
 
In the Low Andes Valleys the climate is more moderate and the region is suitable for cereal and vegetable agriculture. The terrain includes mountains, thermal and medicinal waters, and rock formations caused by wind erosion. Altogether, these present a landscape of singular beauty.
 
Around 3,840 m (12,600 ft.) in the High Andes Mountains, the climate begins to chill significantly; oftentimes dropping below freezing in the winter.  Even in this harsh climate, there is a dispersion of cities, towns and villages. One of these towns is Ayaviri, the See of the Prelature.  Ayaviri is located at 3,907 m (12,800 ft.). Further up at 4,020 m (13,188 ft.), the climate is more consistently freezing, making the region nearly uninhabited.
 
Despite this predominately cold and harsh climate, parts of the provinces of Carabaya and Sandia consist of rainforest. In fact, the area is home to the Tambopata Candamo Reserved Area, founded for the protection of the fauna and flora that grow and live in the tropical sub-humid conditions. This area constitutes one of the richest ecosystems in the world with a great diversity of wildlife that continues to captivate many scientists and tourists from all parts of the world.