A major center of economic development in northern Peru and one of the country's largest cities, Piura is a placid metropolis full of cultural and historic attractions that welcomes visitors with genuine hospitality. Capital of the Piura region adjacent to the Ecuadorian border, it was the first city founded by Francisco Pizarro on his conquest expeditions through Peru. However, the scorching desert plain where the city now lies was not its original home. During Piura's early years a prolonged spate of bad luck in the form of disease, catastrophic rains and pirate attacks forced its citizens to relocate three times within six decades.
Piura's Plaza de Armas is one of Peru's oldest and most attractive, its colonial Cathedral boasts a gold-leaf altar and the city has a wealth of museums and art galleries devoted to religious art, pre-Columbian ceramics and paintings by famous Piuran artists. The birthplace and childhood home of Miguel Grau, Peru's greatest naval hero, is also open to visitors. Just outside the city lies the town of Catacaos, known for its exquisite restaurants and skilled artisans who produce articles made of woven straw and cotton as well as gold and silver filigree. Also nearby are the pre-Inca adobe ruins of Narihualá built by the Tallán people and the large reservoir and natural area of Los Ejidos inhabited by iguanas, herons and other aquatic birds. The city hosts multiple religious celebrations throughout the year, as well as events celebrating local identity such as Piura Tourist Week in September and the Jubilee Festival in October.