Cajamarca is known best as the place where the last Inca Lord, Atahualpa, fell in the tragedy of 1532. Atahualpa was on his way to Cusco with his 80,000 soldiers to claim the Inca throne having just beaten his brother in a battle in Quito. He stopped at Cajamarca, and met Francisco Pizarro and his 168 soldiers who had just spent weeks marching from Piura. Atahualpa refused the 'requirement' to accept christianity and the Spanish king, so Pizarro and his conquistadors captured him in the Battle of Cajamarca, and massacred several thousand unarmed Inca civilians and soldiers. The conquistadores then convinced Atahualpa's generals not to attack them by threatening to kill their king
them a ransom for his freedom: a room filled with gold and twice over with silver. Pizarro was pleased with the offer and accepted it, but murdered Atahualpa anyway (nice guys, the Spanish conquistadors!). El Cuarto del Rescate, or the 'Ransom Room', which is actually the cell where they held Atahualpa, still stands (tho it was closed when we tried to visit it). We were more successful at visiting the 'Baños del Inca' (thermal baths where legend says Atahualpa spent some time relaxing a little while before his fateful encounter with Pizarro). We started our second day in Cajamarca with LOTS of Peruvians (3 of whom could swim without drowning the people around them!) at the 7am thermal pool session, and then, feeling all clean and healthy, walked back into town (past lots of Sunday morning cyclists and joggers), and had plenty of time to explore Cajamarca some more, including a walk up to the Silla del Inca, with it's view of the city, and a beautiful serene chapel, before our afternoon tour. We'd arranged a tour to the 'Ventanillas de Otuzco' ('little windows of Otuzco', so-called because of the window-like appearance of the many square and rectangular holes carved into the stone of the mountain) the day before, using our tried and tested 'book with the first place that lets you in' method , and (being very tired) checked little more than the price, the time, and that the tour visited the windows that we wanted to see. Archeologists are pretty much agreed that the windows are a funerary associated with the Cajamarca culture, but because of all the looting that took place here, that's about all they know. They were fascinating tho, and we were pleased with ourselves for getting to see them so easily. We both had a vague memory that the lady in the tour place had said some things about visiting other places too, but that was all we remembered - so we have no idea why we visited a river with a wobbly bridge next(!), and were suprised to finish off our tour by visiting a garden, a dairy farm, and a cheese-making place (good cheese tho!).