Ancash is famous for the Cordillera Blanca, a snow-capped mountain range which includes the highest peak in Peru, Huascaran (6768m). There are also the pre-columbian ruins Chavin de Huantar and Willkawain.
In 1970 a large earthquake decimated the department. The complete city of Yungay was destroyed by an avalanche, killing an estimate 20,000 people.
The ancient Inca language of Quechua is still spoken in Ancash, with more than twenty dialects alone in the department.