Huacas - Adobe Pyramids in Lima
Lima is one of the most interesting and challenging cities in South America with a huge archaeological, historical and cultural past. Long before the Common Era until the arrival of the Spaniards numerous highly advanced cultures settled the area of today's Lima. Even nowadays they amaze us with their complex skills in construction, agriculture and arts. The Spanish colonists added to this legendary cultural legacy. This completely different culture with European and Moorish influences are mixed with the indigenous cultural and religious inheritance. In the last couple of hundred years immigrants from Africa and Asia added their part.
Our listing of selected huacas or archaeological complexes include sites that were at least partially spared from destruction and deterioration. Some of them stand out right in the middle of the huge metropolis as a permanent reminder of the great cultures in the Lima region.
Huacas Today in Lima
The area of today's Lima City and Province has been already inhabited for many thousands of years. That's the reason why you will find hundreds of ancient settlements hidden somewhere in Lima and the surroundings. But only around 250 archaeological sites and huacas in the capital are registered with the National Institute of Culture (INC). These ancient historical sites and buildings are spread over the traditional and modern districts of Lima. Explorers and archaeologists rediscovered a few hundreds years back many of these historical monuments, but their findings were until a few years back generally speaking ignored. Unfortunately until today only a few huacas are cared for, preserved, restored or investigated in an appropriate manner. Most of the valuable reminders of Limas rich archaeological and historical past seem to be forgotten. They are neglected, left to deteriorate and exposed to Limas urban expansion. You can find for example residences, small plantations, rubbish, a soccer field or even a garage in an archaeological complex or on top of an ancient temple. So it is not surprising to even see mayor roads literally cutting through a historical complex.
Awareness for Cultural Patrimony
Luckily the awareness for Limas cultural patrimony grew in the last years. Thanks to the efforts of the Peruvian government, the Municipality of Lima, cultural institutions, archaeologists, companies and citizens projects were started to save at least a few of these ancient relics. Huacas like "Huaca Mateo Salado" in Pueblo Libre, "Huaca Santa Cruz" in San Isidro, "Huaca Santa Catalina" in La Victoria, "Huaca Huantille" in Magdalena, "Huaca San Borja" in San Borja, "Huaca Rosada" in San Miguel, "Huaca Capillo" in Ventanilla and the "Archaeological Complex of Puruchuco" in Ate are being preserved from further deterioration, investigated and restored. These enormous efforts and the costs involved pay off: Once investigations of the huacas began, archaeologists recovered great structures built by ancient Limeños, valuable artifacts and mummies within a short time. Day by day more information and details about the life, culture, religion, social structure, skills, techniques and abilities regarding arts and handicrafts are revealed.
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The Archaeological Complex "Huaca Pucllana" was an Administrative and Ceremonial Center of the Lima Culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD. Located in today's district of Miraflores the "Huaca Pucllana" was built around 500 AD. "Pucllana" is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima.
In the district of today’s San Isidro you will find an important archaeological complex named the "Huaca Huallamarca" or also known as "Pan de Azúcar" (Sugar Bread). Intensive investigations revealed three main occupation periods of the huaca: before and during the Lima Culture (around 200 BC to 700 AD) by ancient "Hualla" settlers from the Lima valley, "Ishma" (around the 11th century) and Incas (15th and 16th century).
The archaeological complex of Pachacamac is located around 40 km south-east of Limas city center. The enormous site is very impressive with its great pyramidal temples, dwellings, remains of frescoes decorating the adobe walls and other interesting archaeological constructions built by different cultures. The site was the most important religious center of indigenous people at the Peruvian coast in pre-Hispanic times.
The "Archaeological Complex Maranga" is located in the "Parque de las Leyendas". The park houses not only the zoo and botanical garden of Lima but as well a big part of Lima's most extensive ancient city and one of the most important pre-Hispanic complexes at the central Peruvian coast. The ancient city of Maranga contained impressive huge monuments, numerous pyramids, palaces, temples and administrative centers.
Puruchuco (meaning‚ Feather hat in Quecha) is located on km 4.5 of the Carretera Central east out of Lima in today's district of Ate. In the sprawling shantytown called Tupac Amaru lies the pre-Hispanic site, known to archaeologists as Puruchuco-Huaquerones that once was a main ceremonial center of the Incas. During archaeological investigations the archaeologist Guillermo Cock discovered the extent of the hidden settlement.
The "Dead City" of Cajamarquilla is located in today's district of San Juan de Lurigancho (close to the Parque Zoologico Huachipa in Ate-Vitarte). On the remains of an earlier settlement, the Wari built this archaeological complex around 500 AD. Cajamarquilla developed to the major commercial, administrative and military center with a population of about 15,000 people.
One of the first big settlements and ceremonial centers in the region of Lima was "El Paraíso" (The Paradise). The complex dates back to around 2200 BC. It is located north of the City of Lima about 2 km from the Pacific Ocean directly at the Chillón River and extends over 50 hectares. The main building is a big pyramid that was probably used as a temple or an administrative center.
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