What is Pachacamac ?

Ancient wall at Pachacamac
Pachacamac is the largest and most important archaeological site in Lima.

History

Pachacamac was the main sanctuary of the central coast of Peru for over a thousand years. Their temples were visited by crowds of pilgrims on the occasion of the great andean rituals, as it was considered a successful oracle able to predict the future. The Pachacamac word means “soul of the earth, which animates the world.”

The construction of the sanctuary was initiated by the Lima culture (AD 200-AD 600) and is considered the most important religious center in the Lurin valley.

The apogee of the oracle of Pachacamac occurred during the middle horizon – Wari (AD 600-AD 1100), when it became a religious center that attracted large numbers of pilgrims.

In 1470 the incas established in Pachacamac an important provincial capital. In addition to its religious importance, during this time, it was also considered an important administrative center.

Upon the arrival of the Spaniards in 1533, Pachacamac was the most important sanctuary of the coast of Peru.

Site Description

The visit to the site begins in the museum and continues with the following attractions:

1. Lima adobe set – Adobitos

Located at the entrance of the museum, Lima adobes set is a set of small platforms and patios with log poles of the Lima culture, dating from the Regional Development (AD 200 -AD 550) period. Its architecture consists of small parallelepiped bricks placed vertically in a row and, by way of a bookcase on a mud base that gives them stability.

2. Pyramid with Ramp no.1

The Ychma culture occupied the valleys of the Rimac and Lurin between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. The Pyramids Ramp have been considered public buildings of Ychma where resided the current ruler and his family. The high concentration of Pyramids at Pachacamac Ramp (16 known pyramids) has raised question if the site was the Ychma capital.

Pyramid with Ramp #1 - Pachacamac

Photo: Wikimedia

Pyramid with Ramp No. 1 is the largest of all. It is located next to the North South Street and has a side access leading to a patio or courtyard. A small door leads to the main courtyard of the pyramid which stands for comprehensive access ramp to the upper levels of the complex.

3. The North-South street

It was the main axis of the Sanctuary, connecting to the coastal roads leading to it and was controlled by two walls.

The third wall was the main entrance and it is the starting point of a path that goes straight to the temples. This road is known as the North and South Street, and is a wide pathway bordered by high walls of stone and adobe with access to the pyramids with ramps.

4. The Taurichumpi Palace

It was the residence of the last manager of the Sanctuary of Pachacamac. Chronics said that Mr. Taurichumpi was a representative of the Incas who lived in a nice house away from the main temples. Fine feather ornaments and Inca tapestries indicate the range of the inhabitants of the building.

5. The Old Temple

It is the oldest building of the Sanctuary. This building dates from the Regional Development period (AD 200-550) and its use is projected to the beginnings of the Wari Empire (AD 550- 700). It is a platform built with million cubic handmade adobes with an access ramp located at the east. This temple may have been originally dedicated to the god Pachacamac.

6. The Painted Temple

It is a projection of the Old Temple. During the Regional States, the building was expanded and modified to be richly embellished with murals in their grading of the main facade located northeast. The paintings, varied over time and could be identified, the last stage where a number of fish, birds and plants were designed in alternating colors of red and yellow outlined in black.

7. The Temple of the Sun.

The conquest of Pachacamac by the Incas came about in 1470, a huge entourage arrived from Cusco to make offerings to the most important god of the coast. Diplomatic agreements between Ychma and the incas allowed the Incas to establish in the sanctuary, show respect to the deity, and were allowed to build a temple dedicated to the Sun

The temple of the sun has six platforms and trapezoidal floor plan. The west facade is finely decorated with large niches oriented to the sea. in this sector, it was discovered the cemetery of women slaughtered, probable of the elite women buried with a dowry of fine woolen garments and crockery inca.

8. Acllawasi

The Acllawasi or house of the chosen was an institution imposed by the Incas, where chosen women lived and worked. They were selected by their manual skills, culinary or by its physical beauty, which were in the service of the state.

Acllawasi

Photo: Wikimedia by Håkan Svensson

The Acllawasi of Pachacamac is an elegant building of adobes with stone bases padded inca style. Today is one of the most emblematic buildings of the Sanctuary and it allows a glimpse to the visitors as it would have been in the past this construction.

General Information:

Location:

Antigua Carretera Panamericana Sur Km. 31.5 Lurín District – Lima. The journey takes aprox 30-40 minutes from Lima by bus.

Office Hours:
  • Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sundays: from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Entrance fee:
  • Adults: S/. 10.00
  • Students: S/. 5.00
Tips
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Use hats, sunglasses and sun protector
  • Bring water
  • Follow the instructions of the museum and site personnel

I hope you liked this post, it has a little bit of history so you can get a better idea of the site and its culture. If you have any question, just leave me a comment below.

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