Chacas, a “painted” town in danger of losing its beauty

C hacas a small town in the Peruvian Andes in the Ancash Region, behind the highest mountain peak called Huasacarán. It has a very special kind of beauty. From winter to spring, visitors can see a stunning and colourful landscape: red roofs, white walls,  and green fields against bottle blue sky background. The quaint and narrow streets are ordered neatly, and two-story houses with wooden balconies, generally painted green or sky blue, surround the square. It was like that before the arrival of Ugo de Censi Scarafoni S.D.B (Polaggia, Italy), a priest, and for some years nothing changed. Father Ugo had been very careful in maintaining the original design of the town and he believed that building new houses and premises should not affect the original beauty of the town.

Nowadays in Chacas, you can see carved balconies borne from the designs of students and the cooperative “Families of Artisans Don Bosco”, graduated from the Don Bosco Carving School of Chacas. There are houses in the original design, but with three storeys. However, the construction fever has been slowly rising to the point that threatens the implicit agreement amongst the people: to keep the traditional shape of the houses, especially around the plaza.

Many people are complaining about this violation of the traditional beauty of our town. This might be the beginning of the destruction of this “painted” town, a shift in construction that imitates the style found along the coast and in the big cities. I believe Chacasinos ought to stop this. Where are the authorities to protect this town? What about the mayor? Who is going to save this original pearl of the Andes?

Author: Victor Reyes
Translation/corrections: Nicola Phillips

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