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 Spaniards' many 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 is 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 includes sites that were at least partially spared from destruction and deterioration. Some of them stand out right in the middle of the vast metropolis as a permanent reminder of the great cultures in the Lima region.
The area of today's Lima City and Province has been already inhabited for many thousands of years. That's the reason 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 of years back many of these historical monuments, but their findings were until a few years back ignored. Unfortunately, until today only a few huacas are cared for, preserved, restored or investigated appropriately. 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 major roads literally cutting through a historical complex.
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 magnificent 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.