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Peru: Pachacamac

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Pachacamac | Peru | Americas

[Visited: April 2009]

Even though we had to change from one minibus to the other several times, the connections from Lima were very smooth and we finally arrived at the entrance of Pachacamac without a problem. After buying our entrance ticket, we first proceeded to the tiny museum of Pachacamac. The idol of Pachacamac is prominently displayed in the very first room of the museum. This is a wooden totem-like tall artifact, with a double-sided face on top. It also has representations of animals like snakes and felines carved into it. Apparently, the idol functioned as an oracle in the pre-Incan times, and was feared so much that the Incas themselves used it once they had conquered the area. Furthermore, the museum contains all kinds of other finds of the area, including some amazingly well preserved coloured textiles.

Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Pachacamac ruins and road

Once outside again, we walked past the Convent of the Sun Virgins and Acllawasi, both looking less authentic because of the heavy restoration. We continued along the gravel road up towards the Temple of the Sun, accompanied by several groups of school kids firmly under control of their teachers. This temple was actually added to the pilgrimage destination of Pachacamac later, by the Incas, on a natural hill overlooking the immediate surroundings and the Pacific. While it was supposedly brightly coloured during its era, it now has become a rubble under reconstruction with a colour matching that of the surrounding, sandy area. Actually, the reverence of Pachacamac was so wide spread, and the importance of his verdicts passed through the idol so ominous, that the Incas could only allow the cult to continue after they seized power.

Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Ruins of Pachacamac

After enjoying the views from the top of the Temple of the Sun, we continued to the rest of the ruins. Pachacamac was actually started around 200 CE and is named after the creator god worshipped at the time, the name Pacha Kamaq translating to Earth Creator. Various indigenous tribes were in the area and added to the site, until the advent of the Incas. Pachacamac consisted of temples, houses, pyramids, a square and a cemetery. Even though much of these buildings are now in ruins, you can still appreciate the size of Pachacamac, and on some temples, even the colourful walls. Unfortunately, when I visited, we were not allowed to enter most of the temples, houses, or pyramids. It is quite obvious that there still is a lot of work to be done in the area, with potentially a lot of finds to be done - we even found part of an old human skull just lying on the surface. of the earth. While most visitors used buses for transportation, we were happy to walk the gravel road around the ruins. After our visit, we went to San Pedro and enjoyed a delicious lunch with ceviche before plunging into the waves of the Pacific.

Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Looking towards the Pacific from the top of the Temple of the Sun
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Some of the Pachacamac ruins
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Temple of the Sun dominating the landscape of Pachacamac
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Temple of the Sun at Pachacamac
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Ruins of the Temple of the Sun
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Painted Temple with Temple of the Sun in the background
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Pyramid seen from a side
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Pyramid with access at Pachacamac
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): View from below of the Temple of the Sun of Pachacamac
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Old skull near the remains of Pachacamac
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Ruins of Pachacamac with village in the background
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Remains of the Calle Norte Sur in the ruins of Pachacamac
Picture of Pachacamac (Peru): Replica of the wooden totem found by the Spanish on display in the museum

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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