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HUACAS AT THE SOUTH OF
LIMA METROPOLITANA

THE ORACLE OF PACHACAMAC


At a distance of 31 kilometres to the South of Lima by the Panamericana Sur Highway, overlooking the fruitful valley of Lurín, looms the ancient pre-Hispanic oracle of Pachacamac, the notable Ceremonial Centre that made such an impression on the Spaniard conquerors, and undoubtedly to the proper Incas when they arrived to take over this part of the coast.

This archaeological complex is declared as Cultural Patrimony of Humanity, and one of the foremost ceremonial centres in the central coast. It was a place to worship the god Pachacamac, the god of fire and descendant of the Sun. The construction of this sanctuary is credited to the Lima Culture (4th and 5th centuries A.D.) who also built the temples of Urpiwachak and the composite of Adobitos. After this culture and for over one thousand years it became consecutively subjected to diverse cultures, like the Wari, Ichmay and Inca, which added their own styles to the edifications they encountered.

Built entirely on raw mud bricks (adobe), it was considered, along with Cusco, the major place of cult among the pre-Hispanic people. To this place constantly swarmed thousands of peregrines from the remotest lands to render tribute and to consult the oracle of the god Pachacamac, architect of the world and creator of all its creatures. The Inca sector of this complex (1440 - 1533 A.D.) remains also as the best preserved.

There are palaces, temples and squares that have been thoroughly refurbished, and contains a field museum that keeps an essential collection of archaeological items. The influence domain of Pachacamac as a religious centre surpassed the regional area in ways that are still unknown. Most likely, its influence started somewhere around the early Intermedio Temprano period.
The discovery of a temple belonging to that period, known as the Templo Viejo or Old Temple, with a façade painted in red, was made by the notorious German archaeologist Max Uhle. His findings, especially of ceramics and textiles, have styles and designs reputedly from the Sierra region, in some cases showing a clear influence from the altiplanic cultures (mostly Tiahuanaco, a culture originated on the Collao Plateau, at the southern highlands of Perú). From a later period, maybe from the end of the Horizonte Medio (9th - 10th centuries), would possibly date another structure known as Templo Pintado or Painted Temple, named so due to the remnants of mural paintings on its walls.

The god Pachacamac, of a Central Coast extraction, survived the domination of both the Incas and the Spaniards. According to the mythology of the Incas, it was the god of the fire and son of the Sun, re-newer of the world, and whose power became associated with earthquakes. With the arrival of the Spaniards, it became transfixed into the Christ of Pachacamilla, mostly worshipped as the Señor de los Milagros (Lord of the Miracles).

The actual size of Pachacamac is approximately 492 hectares, including some protected natural areas that comprise a forest of carob trees and a lake.

To saunter about the place means to traverse over the history of the Valley of the Lurín River and of the Central Coast as well, through its burials and temples, and to became acquainted with the millenary communion of the ancient Peruvians with nature.

Located at 31 kilometres from the City of Lima. Roughly 45 minutes travel.

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