Attitude 2,458m A.S.L
Capital of Yungay of province – the old town lay at the foot of imposing Mt. Huascaran, with narrow, clean, cobblestone streets, adobe houses with tiled roofs, a small but exquisite main square and very friendly people.
To the west, pre – Inca archaeological remains on Huansacay hill are covered by modern cementery niches, at the top of which the Christ of Yungay stands. The work was designed by architect Arnoldo Ruska (1903 – 1933).
Yungay’s history is memorable for the tragedy and sorrow brought by natural disasters.
In 1725, an avalanche from the top of Mt. Huandoy fell the small town of Ancash north of Yungay near the hill of Pan de Azucar, burying 1500 people. In 1839, Pan de Azucar was the scene of a battle between the Peruvian – Bolivian Confederation and the Restoration army, the latter made up mainly of Chilean invaders.
In 1970, Yungay was destroyed by the earthquake and totally buried by the resulting avalanche of ice and rocks that broke off the western face of Mt. Huascaran. A layer of mud nearly 30 feet deep covered the whole town and there were only 92 survivors. Nearly 20,000 died. That afternoon teams of Mountaineers were on the snow peaks, including those of the Kyoto Alpine Club, 5000 m high on Mt. Huandoy and the avalanche itself was filmed from the outset by a Japanese mountaineer, Kiichi Takhasi
Since that disaster Yungay has been declared a Sacred Burial Ground (Campo Santo). The tops of four palm trees are all that remain of what was the Plaza de Armas of old Yungay. The survivors have built a new town to the north, from which a new gravel road leads up to the lakes and goes over the mountain pass of Portachuelo towards the village of Yanama and all Konchucos valley.