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Peru: ein Land mit vielen unterschiedlichen
Kulturen, Traditionen, Wetter und
LIMA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SITES
Differing from the colonial buildings, the most important
pre-Hispanic archaeological remains are found, logically,
outside the Historical Centre of the City, dispersed over
the residential districts or in the coastal valleys in relative
proximity to the Capital. Lima, the Capital of Perú,
is a city located virtually in the middle of the Peruvian
coast and nearly at sea level. Its importance as a harbour
during the times of the colony made it the only South American
capital situated at the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Its mild
climate shows no harsh extremes (12-20°C during Winter
and a maximum of 20-30°C in Summer), and no excessive
variations from day to night. Thus, it permits to be visited
during all of the 365 days of the year.
• The Huacas of Metropolitana Lima
In the ancient Peru, a Huaca could either be a river,
a tree or a mountain to whom magical powers were conferred
in the belief that there dwelled some divinity or ancestor.
In the area of the coast, that designation was specifically
used to name some scaled pyramids.
The growing process of Lima, thanks to the efforts of scholars
and neighbours, has spared numbers of Huacas, leaving them
as archaeological vestiges that stand out in the middle of
this large City.
In the heart of the district of San Isidro stands the archaeological
complex of Huallamarca. Hualla in the quechua tongue means
"uneven" and marca stands for "village",
because in its first times this complex presented a structure
sustained over spiralled ramps. In the year of 1999, several
pieces of pottery were unearthed, possibly indicating a near-by
burial of some important character. An aspect that is common
to almost all the important Huacas of Lima is that there are
many young archaeologists still working on them, along with
some non professional people that voluntarily offer their
time and efforts. That is the case of the Huaca Pucllana,
nowadays a Historical and Cultural Park, located in the District
of Miraflores. This complex was the ceremonial and administrative
centre of the Lima culture (around 400 A.D.) which held the
control of the valley. The evidences at hand point out that
many activities of religious cult, rites and sacrifices to
worship their gods took place here. It is also possible that
the residences of the governing priests were located in this
place. The Pucllana Historical Park includes a museum and
areas of research, preservation, restoration and cultural
promotion, the latter with the task of motivating the community,
starting from childhood, to create a conscience of respect
and pride for their natural and archaeological patrimony.
In the district of San Isidro we will find this important
archaeological compound, only a little smaller than Pucllana:
the Huaca Huallamarca or Pan de Azúcar (Sugar Bread),
an adobe scaled pyramid with an impressive access ramp.
A pyramidal shaped Ceremonial Centre of pre-Inca times contains
a museum that exhibits artefacts that were found in the site.
The tombs found in the Huaca Huallamarca embrace a very long
period that goes from the 3rd century A.D. to the coming of
the Incas during the 15th century. Apparently, Huallamarca
was a ceremonial centre whose access was possibly restricted
to a religious elite, in view of the fact that the uncovered
floors show little wear from use. A long sequence of employment
and abandonment of this Huaca reveals the different ways in
which the funerary practices changed through time.
During the historical period called the Intermedio Temprano
(Early Intermediate), the dead were buried laying on their
back on mattresses of reeds Towards the 6th century A.D. the
corpses were put in a flexed way, giving them a foetal position
and wrapped in fine fabrics. And during the last stages of
the Horizonte Medio (epochs 3 and 4), the dead were wrapped
in fardos or bundles with a false head above, a sort of mask
made of painted fabric or wood.
Adress: At the intersection of the Avenidas El Rosario and
Nicolás de Rivera Avenues, San Isidro.
Phone: (511) 222-4124.
Visit schedule: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Huaca Pucllana o Juliana
The site of the pre-Inca temple with a pyramidal shape, built
using small handmade adobe bricks contains a small museum.
The Huaca Pucllana is situated in the midst of the modern
district of Miraflores, with an area of five hectares.
This Huaca was an administrative and ceremonial centre to
the inhabitants of the valley of Rímac, during the
Intermedio Temprano and until the early Horizonte Medio (5th
to 8th centuries A.D.).
The main building of this complex is 500 metres long, more
than 100 metres wide and 22 metres high. It is a solid truncated
pyramid, entirely built over a base of stuffed and compressed
soil and small adobe bricks. Moreover, the complex is surrounded
by a number of precincts of lesser size but altogether notable:
rooms, galleries, patios and ramps, generally richly pasted
in mud and, in some cases, with traces of yellow paint.
The sheer monumentality of this construction of adobe gets
easily in evidence when the visitor climbs up to its summit.
From there, it is possible to behold the city spreading below,
with its modern buildings rising, and, beyond, the sea appears
as a greenish carpet speckled by ochre islands. Relying on
its architecture and on the objects unearthed all over this
place, the only possible function that it served to was as
an administrating centre of the cult and of the produce from
the Valley. The archaeologists have so far retrieved textiles,
ceramics with red, white and black, or grey and orange ornamentations,
remains of some edibles like corn, beans, pallar (a big flat
bean), chirimoya, pacae fruit, alpacas, guinea pigs, ducks,
and also fish and molluscs.
This is an important archaeological and cultural complex composed
by the archaeological ruins itself, a field museum and an
area of workshops and seminars.
It was the centre of development of the Lima Culture. A building
for both ceremonial and administrative purposes, built with
adobe and ruled by a group of priests that politically ruled
over the valleys of Chancay, Chillón, Rímac
and Lurín. It contains two separate zones, one a pyramidal
structure 23 metres high, aimed for the cult and sacrifices
to their deities, and the urban zone, were there still can
be seen squares, ramps, patios and rooms for storage.
This archaeological site has been related by scholars to other
places alike in the Department of Lima, like Maranga (San
Miguel), Cajamarquilla (Ate-Vitarte) and Pachacamac (Lurín).
The museum and hall of expositions function since 1984, and
contains an interesting collection of ceramics, textiles,
tools and artifacts made of wood and stone. There are also
some actual representations of economical activities and funerary
rites. In a close-by hall there is an exhibition of plants
and animals that existed in those times on the area. The Cultural
Promotional area has developed conferences and workshops like
the Arqueología para niños, or Archaeology for
Kids, comprising activities like textile handcrafts and the
elaboration of pottery among others. There also exists a good
restaurant that allows tasting some typical Peruvian dishes
with a view of the ruins.
Address: Block 8 of General Borgoño Street (between
blocks 5 and 6 of Angamos Oeste avenue), Miraflores. Five
kilometres away from the Centre of Lima (some 45 minutes drive).
Phone: (511) 445-8695.
Schedule of visits: Wednesday to Monday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Huaca Mateo Salado
Also known as Ruinas de Arcona and Cinco Cerritos, it is located
facing the Plaza de la Bandera Square, in the boundaries of
the Districts of Lima, Breña and Pueblo Libre. In the
intersection of the avenues Tingo María and Mariano
Cornejo and the streets Ernesto Malinowski, Enrique López
Albújar, E. García Rosell and Belisario Sosa.
The archaeological complex of Mateo Salado is composed by
five monumental pyramids, built over a base of tapiales (big
blocks of mud assembled together). Its present extension is
of about 20 hectares.
The first structure is located over a large rectangular platform
that is itself surrounded by four thick walls leaving a space
in between. This is repeated on every other superimposed platform,
resulting in streets and corridors on each level.
The second structure is constituted by a number of big dimensioned
halls and squares, which could possibly be the indicators
of a mainly residential use.
The remaining three are lesser structures. The third one has
an internal stairway that ends on a high terrace. The fourth,
pretty separated from the rest, shows a square oriented towards
the North, a large rectangular cancha or square field and
many funerary chambers. The fifth and smaller, presents an
almost square lay out.
In the past, this complex was connected to the archaeological
complex of Maranga through a narrow walled road. It is dated
in the Intermedio Tardío (1000 A.D. - 1470 A.D.) and
the Horizonte Tardío (1470 A.D. - 1532 A.D.).
• Huacas at the South of Metropolitana
Lima The Oracle of Pachacamac
At a distance of 31 kilometres to the South of Lima by the
Panamericana Sur Highway, overlooking the fruitful valley
of Lurín, looms the ancient pre-Hispanic oracle of
Pachacamac, the notable Ceremonial Centre that made such an
impression on the Spaniard conquerors, and undoubtedly to
the proper Incas when they arrived to take over this part
of the coast.
This archaeological complex is declared as Cultural Patrimony
of Humanity, and one of the foremost ceremonial centres in
the central coast. It was a place to worship the god Pachacamac,
the god of fire and descendant of the Sun. The construction
of this sanctuary is credited to the Lima Culture (4th and
5th centuries A.D.) who also built the temples of Urpiwachak
and the composite of Adobitos. After this culture and for
over one thousand years it became consecutively subjected
to diverse cultures, like the Wari, Ichmay and Inca, which
added their own styles to the edifications they encountered.
Built entirely on raw mud bricks (adobe), it was considered,
along with Cusco, the major place of cult among the pre-Hispanic
people. To this place constantly swarmed thousands of peregrines
from the remotest lands to render tribute and to consult the
oracle of the god Pachacamac, architect of the world and creator
of all its creatures. The Inca sector of this complex (1440
- 1533 A.D.) remains also as the best preserved.
There are palaces, temples and squares that have been thoroughly
refurbished, and contains a field museum that keeps an essential
collection of archaeological items. The influence domain of
Pachacamac as a religious centre surpassed the regional area
in ways that are still unknown. Most likely, its influence
started somewhere around the early Intermedio Temprano period.
The discovery of a temple belonging to that period, known
as the Templo Viejo or Old Temple, with a façade painted
in red, was made by the notorious German archaeologist Max
Uhle. His findings, especially of ceramics and textiles, have
styles and designs reputedly from the Sierra region, in some
cases showing a clear influence from the altiplanic cultures
(mostly Tiahuanaco, a culture originated on the Collao Plateau,
at the southern highlands of Perú). From a later period,
maybe from the end of the Horizonte Medio (9th - 10th centuries),
would possibly date another structure known as Templo Pintado
or Painted Temple, named so due to the remnants of mural paintings
on its walls.
The god Pachacamac, of a Central Coast extraction, survived
the domination of both the Incas and the Spaniards. According
to the mythology of the Incas, it was the god of the fire
and son of the Sun, re-newer of the world, and whose power
became associated with earthquakes. With the arrival of the
Spaniards, it became transfixed into the Christ of Pachacamilla,
mostly worshipped as the Señor de los Milagros (Lord
of the Miracles).
The actual size of Pachacamac is approximately 492 hectares,
including some protected natural areas that comprise a forest
of carob trees and a lake.
To saunter about the place means to traverse over the history
of the Valley of the Lurín River and of the Central
Coast as well, through its burials and temples, and to became
acquainted with the millenary communion of the ancient Peruvians
Located at 31 kilometres from the City of Lima. Roughly 45
• Huacas at the Noth of Metropolitana
Lima La Fortaleza de Paramonga
Located 203 kilometres to the North of Lima, about three and
a half hours across the Panamerican Roadway, arouses this
splendid terraced pyramid in a perfect state of preservation:
It is a grandiose construction of adobe and stone, from which
outstandingly hangs an impressive building known as La Fortaleza
or The Fortress, erected over a huge rock outcropping. Along
with this building, lay deployed smaller structures pierced
by a maze of ramps and corridors.
This complex is from the Intermedio Tardío period (1100
- 1400 A.D.), and ascribed to the Chimu Culture, although
years later it became occupied by the Incas (1440 - 1532 A.D.).
It is possible to visit two rooms with niches on their walls
and a room that shows traces of red, white and ochre paint.
The top of a natural mound beside cropping fields was completely
transformed due to the construction of five high overtopped
terraces. Several doors with restricted access convey to the
summit, where a secluded structure with four rooms is located.
The pottery and the characteristic parallelepiped adobe bricks
leave no room to doubts about its Inca's origins. The seemingly
defensive appearance is deceitful, because this building most
probably did not served to any military purposes, but ones
of cult. It is not a casual fact that this complex, with a
polychrome finishing on its walls, so strongly recalls one
of the most monumental exploits of the Incas along the Coast:
the Pyramid of the Sun in Pachacamac.
Location: at 200 kilometres to the North of Lima, over the
Carretera Panamericana Norte.
An important legacy from the culture of the Atavillos (900
- 1460 A.D.) in the form of a impressive citadel whose main
structure is the Castillo Marca Kullpi Castle, surrounded
by mythical mausoleums and a number of well preserved chullpas
(circular or rectangular stone structures for funerary purposes).
On the inside of its rectangular buildings can be seen ornamentations
on the walls and tubular chimneys. The main square welcomes
the visitor within its astounding stone portals.
Location: Archaeological Complex. Town of Pampas, District
of Atavillos Bajos, Huaral. 160 kilometres to the North of
Necropolis de Ancón
The Bay of Ancón was in past times a privileged place
for human life on account of its abundant marine resources.
There must have existed a very large population judging from
the greatly extended area detached to be used as a necropolis.
The burials are arranged in overlaying levels, one atop another.
Even on this days, there still are some 35,000 tombs awaiting
to be studied. The remains of three well defined epochs lay
buried here: Horizonte Temprano (900 - 300 B.C.), Intermedio
Tardío (900 - 1400 A.D.) and Horizonte Tardío
(1440 - 1532 A.D.).
Location: Ancon is located 35 kilometres to the North of Lima.
The Necropolis is 300 metres from the main square of Ancón,
about a five minute walk.
• The Huacas in the Sierra of Lima The "Dead City" of Cajamarquilla
This is one of the most important archaeological complexes
of the central pre-Hispanic coast.
Entirely built in adobe, it comprises a peculiar set of walled
palaces. It is located 15 kilometres to the East of Lima by
the Central Roadway, over the left margin and on the lower
part of the Huaycoloro ravine. From the locality of Huachipa,
an unpaved road winds in direction of the zinc refinery of
Cajamarquilla, from there on, the valley gets narrowed by
the imposing presence of the mountains, sources of many watering
streams that irrigate the fields of the lower Valley.
This archaeological site was built during the Intermedio Temprano,
around the years of 400 or 600 A.D. while the valley was under
the influence of the Lima Culture, and stands out as the second
biggest urban complex constructed with mud in the ancient
Perú, with its 167 hectares of extension, surpassed
only by the citadel of Chan Chan, in the Department of La
Libertad to the North of Lima.
A centre of regional influence during a period from the 6th
to 8th centuries A.D., the "dead city" of Cajamarquilla
is assembled by pyramids, squares, streets, rooms and mazes
clearly distinguishable in the midst of an arid landscape,
harshly beaten by floods during the El Niño phenomenon
appearances. Nevertheless, this place sustained a very complete
and dynamic civilization, as asserted by the many human burials
located in several sectors; the different decorations on objects,
some typical of the valley itself, others from the rest of
the Coast and others from the southern Sierra; also by the
many underground cellars to keep food; and by the patios devoted
to the production of chicha (an alcoholic beverage obtained
from the maceration of corn) for the parties.
Towards the 8th century the place was deserted, but some time
later a new cultural thrust seemingly re-born and new buildings
were raised above or beside the old ones. Its importance as
a urban and political centre kept growing until the year of
1100 A.D. (Intermedio Tardío), when the disorganised
and uncanny look that prevails today was finally reached.
Location: Over the right margin of the Rímac River,
in the lower part of the Jicamarca Ravine, at a distance of
15 kilometres from the City of Lima (25 Km. from the Pacific
Ocean). It takes some 30 minutes car drive to access this
site, all year round, and totally cost free.
El Palacio de Puruchuco
Over the road that climbs towards the highlands East of Lima,
is located Puruchuco, the palace of a curaca or cacique that
ruled over a portion of the left margin of the Rímac
River, some little time before and during the establishment
of the Incas over this Valley.
The building belongs to the Inca Period, constructed with
rectangular adobes, the residential palace of Puruchuco shows
a square lined deploy, encased by a thick wall 4 metres high
and 60 centimetres thick. The interior is distributed in a
series of halls, patios and corridors coherently articulated.
It is assumed to have served as the residence of a functionary,
as well as an administrative centre devoted to the surveillance
of the productive endeavours of the zone.
At the foremost, we can access the Field Museum and appreciate
some interesting pieces unearthed from the place, as vessels,
keros (a kind of ceramic or wooden vase) and jars among other
findings, and a spectacular exhibit of a funerary bundle (fardo
funerario) arranged besides its original set of offerings.
There is also a re-make of the methods used in burials, with
written explanations that will enlighten the visitor of the
habits of these people.
There is a hall with Temporal Exhibits and a Hall of Metals
filled with golden objects and the tools used on them. There
is also a reproduction of the Palace of Puruchuco in a reduced
scale that will become useful to comprehend the magnitude
of the building.
Location: Archaeological Site, Carretera Central, kilometre
Schedule of visits: Monday - Sunday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Cementery of Puruchuco
It is regarded as the second biggest cemetery and the one
with the highest number of burials during a same period (1480
- 1535), known worldwide due to the unearthing in the last
years of more than 2,200 mummies. This bundled mummies were
found on a foetal position, along with diverse objects left
as offerings for the personal use of the deceased, like keros
filled with corn, potatoes or meat of llamas; combs, needles
and other alike artefacts.
These mummies are now being studied in Lima and in Canada,
revealing the presence of some peculiar characters as the
one already known as "el Rey del Algodón"
or "the King of Cotton", a seemingly noble man in
the company of a youngster, bundled together with layer upon
layer of unprocessed cotton, containing also some ceramics,
animal hides and corn. There is also a huge funerary bundle
known as "Falsas Cabezas" or "False Heads"
that contains in its interior several bodies huddled together
in a foetal position. Its name comes from the fact that a
false head made from cotton was sewn to its upper external
part, resembling a real head.
Location: Asentamiento Humano Tupac Amaru, nearby the Palace
An impressive urban centre that rises from the heights, constructed
by the legendary people known as the Atavillos (900 - 1460
A.D.). There can be mentioned the superb Palacio del Curaca
or the Palace of the Curaca, located over a hilltop, in a
careful surveillance of its domains. A careful look will reveal
that the stone walls are surrounded by terraces and funerary
Location: Archaeological Complex at a distance of 65 kilometres
(4 hours) from the town of Huaral, that is located itself
at 80 kilometres at the North of Lima.
Tells the story that this enormous construction was built
to serve as quarters to the troops of Inca Tupac Yupanqui,
during his conquering campaign against the Señorío
or Lordship of the Guarco (1450 A.D.).
This Complex is divided in three well defined areas: the Barrio
Incaico or Incaic Neighbourhood, strewn with streets, rooms
and dwellings where the troops of the Inca stayed. The Barrio
Religioso (Religious Neighbourhood) or of the Colcas. And
finally the Palace of the Inca, erected over the highest part
of the Complex and conveniently protected by a mountain.
Location: Archaeological Site at 60 kilometres (45 minutes)
from San Vicente de Cañete, itself located at 120 kilometres
by the Autopista Panamericana Sur (South Pan-American Highway).