Pachacamac, a Pre-Inca archaeological site about an hour away from Lima.
By Karen Lac
While most people immediately think of Machu Picchu when they think of Peru, the country has a wealth of other archaeological sites that visitors should explore. One of the easiest to get to from the country’s capital of Lima is Pachacamac, named after the creator god Pachacamac. Located about 20 miles south-east of Lima, it served as a place of worship for the people situated in and along the central coast. A vast complex of temples, pyramids, plazas, and dwellings, it was first built by the Huari people between 600 and 800 AD. It survived the Inca conquest, who actually kept it as a religious shrine and even added structures to it, but fell with the Spanish conquest in the 1530s.
As with most other sites in Peru, it’s overshadowed by Machu Picchu. That may all change though with the recent discovery, by a team of Belgian archaeologists working on the site, of a 1,000-year-old oval tomb containing the skeletons and mummies of over 70 people, including that of a dozen infants. The people are believed to have been sacrificed to the gods since buried with them were offerings such as masks, copper and gold, and ceramic vessels. Dogs and guinea pigs were also buried with the people. This new discovery is likely to raise Pachacamac’s international profile and lead to more visitors so the time to visit is now.
About an hour away from Lima, the easiest way to get there is with a tour group. Unless you’re familiar with the area, ready to deal with crazy traffic conditions and are fluent with Spanish, renting a car is not advisable. One company I recommend is Mirabus, which runs tours to the site with one of its open deck buses every day from Kennedy Park in Miraflores, the district in which most tourists stay at while in Lima. Tours depart Tuesday to Sunday at 10:00 am and last a total of three and half hours. Simply visit the company’s kiosk the day prior to purchase your tickets for 60.00 Nuevos Soles, or $23, per person. The tour, staffed by a bilingual guide, goes through the districts of Barranco and Chorrillos along the coast and makes a stop at the Natural Reserve of Villa Swamplands before continuing to Pachacamac. The natural reserve itself is unimpressive, especially considering that all you really do is get off the bus, walk to a small area and pose for pictures along some boats for about 10 minutes.
Of course, that doesn’t really matter since the main attraction of the tour is Pachacamac. A warning to those who like to explore upclose on their own: since archaeological work is still being done, combined with the fact that its largeness makes walking around unfeasible, visitors see most of the site while seated in the bus. However, you do get the chance to stretch your legs and walk around when you reach the Temple of the Sun. The Temple of the Sun, besides being an impressive site in itself, affords wonderful views of the Lurin Valley and the Pacific Ocean. You are then free to explore the small museum that houses some of the archaeological finds before heading back to Lima.
While Pachacamac may not be so impressive that it draws hords of tourists on its own, its ease of visiting and closeness to Lima certainly makes it worthwhile if you have a few hours to spare while in the capital city.
SOURCE: examiner.comTerug naar het nieuwsoverzicht