From tampu: resting place

The viceregal tambos, heirs of the ancient Inca tampus, accessory to the great imperial road network called Cápac Ñan, served as an inn for travelers from that period until the arrival of the railway in the second half of the 19th century, becoming, many of them, in slum tenements.

Fortunately, in the last two decades, several of them have been the cause of restoration and rescue by the local authorities with the important support of the Spanish Government, which has allowed them to become first-rate tourist attractions.


Crucible of the cultural identity of the Andean South

This is the case of the so-called Tambo de la Cabezona, which represents spaces linked to the city in its preferably peripheral areas.

In addition to visits to manor houses such as Moral, which gives us a vision of the life of the most renowned families of the Arequipa elite, or to convents such as San Francisco or Santa Teresa that represent the contemplative life of a considerable part of the city’s inhabitants, the visit to the tampus offers us an approximation to the marginal sectors of that society at that time, a sector constituted by a predominantly “floating population, since they were merchant muleteers who were dedicated to the bustle of the more diverse goods such as wines and grape spirits, as well as fruits, fish and many other products from the coastline and coastal valleys; At the same time, other merchandise and products from the mountains were also present, ranging from the pampas of the altiplano to silver ingots from the Imperial Villa of Potosí.

In his time, voices with different accents that could have come from Chuquibamba, Cusco or the Altiplano, to Salta and Tucumán, must have been heard between the hallways and patios of the tambo.

For this reason, the tambos are also constituted in forging crucibles of the cultural identity of the Andean South, the scene of the first meeting of the numerous ingredients that make up the varied gastronomy of Arequipa and evidence of the way in which the city was integrated with its surroundings.

It is important, in the case of the “Tambo de la Cabezona”, to recognize its importance also as a corn mill, but in this case not oriented mainly for the production of flour, but rather for obtaining starch from “guiñapo” (corn germinated) from which was also obtained, as a secondary product, an important input for the elaboration of the very traditional chicha.


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