La Tirana is a small town in the commune of Pozo Almonte, in the Tarapacá Region, Chile. It is a really small town, with a population of 837 people, it is located near Pozo Almonte at just 19 km of distance and 75 km away from Iquique.
La Tirana has an arid climate, with temperatures that vary between 9 °C and 24 °C and with low rainfall.
Despite being a very small town, it is widely known in the country for the religious celebration that takes place on July 16 of each year in honor of the Virgen del Carmen, and is considered the largest religious festival in the country.
It is estimated that each year, during this week, more than 250,000 visitors from Peru, Bolivia and the rest of Chile come to the town to enjoy the dances, songs and processions of this beautiful festival. Usually the activities begin on July 10, these are days full of joy and dancing everywhere, until the night of July 15 arrives, when the eve is celebrated with a mass in the city square, just at 00:00 fireworks explode and the party reaches its peak, these celebrations last until July 19, the day in which a farewell mass is held in the temple of La Tirana.
The name of the town comes from an ancient and romantic legend, the princess Ñusta Huillac of the Inca culture, was a fierce woman who led a rebellion against Diego de Almagro's troops in order to regain the power of her nation, she was so feared that they came to nickname her as "La tirana de Tamarugal". One day Ñusta Huillac met the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Almeyda and they fell madly in love, however, when their relationship was discovered they were sentenced to death, Vasco de Almeyda in an attempt to preserve their love, convinces Ñusta Huillac to be baptized so they could stay together even after death. The natives discovered the couple during the ceremony and murdered them.
Many years later, Friar Antonio Rendón during his visit to the town of "La Tirana" discovers a cross and decides to pay homage to the couple by building the chapel of "Nuestra Señora del Carmen de la Tirana"
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