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Apurímac and the Incredible Stone Prison

The famous stone prison is located in the district of Haquira, in the province of Cotabambas in the department of Apurímac. It is located about 200 meters from the main square of the district.
In the middle part of the interior there is the colonial court of justice and in the lower part there are some caves and cold, very dark caves that served as prisons or jails to lock up women and men, rustlers or dangerous delinquents and those who violated the Laws of the Colonial Period, was entered by circular doors.
Many who entered, never left the bowels of this living rock, because all this can be corroborated by the dramatic description found in a complaint made by indigenous people of Haquira in Cotabambas, Apurímac before the superior court of Cusco, in 1915. Other documents that speak of the rigors of the stone prison date from the seventeenth century.

Ccacca jail has a slope about 20 meters high, with a width of 18 meters.
In pre-Hispanic times the rock served as a huaca or shrine, where the heavenly entities such as the Sun, the Moon, and the stars were worshiped. They say that the Incas considered it a sanctuary of transcendence, to which people from all over the area came to offer ceremonies directed by the tarpuntay. The truth is that during the Colony was drilled to serve as a prison. Hundreds of indigenous people were forced to dig for years, opening vaults and tunnels where later men and women of their own race would be imprisoned. In the beginning the mole was baptized as “Castles of Santa Barbara and Santa Ana”, however, it would be the Indians who would remember it with terror like Qaqa Prison.

The entire complex was surrounded by a high wall with a single entrance gate jealously guarded by armed guards. At the top of the rock, there is still the stone armchair where the main lookout that controlled everything that happened in the jail and in the town sat. The cells have slightly vaulted ceilings, offering traces of a stubborn chisel. The dungeon of women is fifteen steps away from that belonging to the men This black mouth opened in the rocky area can accommodate ten people with a more comfortable height than the previous ones.

The courts

The Indians brought did not immediately go to jail, before they were subjected to a trial to decide the punishments that would be given to them. At the back of the rock, 18 meters above the ground, is the court where the corregidores of the mines in the company of the religious judged the rebels who did not want to comply with the mita.

Once the trial was over, the Indians went to the hermetic, humid and malodorous dungeons where they were located in stone tombs, condemned to die of cold or starvation.

Qaqa Jail continued to be used as such in the Republic. The new inmates were prosecuted for other causes such as rustling, adultery, contempt of authority, among other faults. In the year of 1928, every authority was forbidden to lock up in their cavernous caverns any criminal for more crimes that this has committed.

 

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