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The town of Barranca, Capital of the homonymous Province, is located 193 kilometres North of Lima, going through the Pan American Highway. It is a small though noisy city making a living out of commerce.

It is situated in the Bay of Barranca, and its origins get lost in the boundaries of time.

It is known that the ancient settlers of the zone were annexed by the Mochica culture, and the Fortress of Paramonga, which has come up to our days almost intact, is proof of that. It is located a few kilometres North of the locality.

Already in the XVth Century, the zone became part of the Northern Lordship of Chimú. And in the first years of the XVIth Century the troops of Tupac Inca Yupanqui conquered it with blood and fire.

Barranca offers travellers exceptional spots of interest. Its long seaside promenade extends along two beautiful beaches: Chorrillos and Puerto Chico. There you can find picturesque wood houses near the ocean.

There are tourist services on a basic and intermediate level.



FORTRESS OF PARAMONGA

It is the biggest attraction of the zone. It is 13 kilometres north of Barranca, almost on the border of the Regions of Lima and Ancash, at the kilometre 209 of the North Pan American Highway.

It is a pre-Hispanic construction that shows two occupation stages: one pre-Inca and the other Inca (1100 - 1535 D.C.). It was built with adobes over an ample rocky promontory. You can appreciate a nice countryside and fertile valleys in the surroundings.

It was an important city built on the border of the Chimú Realm (Late Intermediate Period, 1200 - 1400 D.C.), which capital was the metropolis of Chan Chan, in the city of Trujillo.

It owes its name to its closeness to the former hacienda of Paramonga and the homonymous town. Its original name in the Chimú tongue, a language that was spoken all over the Peruvian N orthern coast before the Spanish conquest (1532), is unknown.

It is called a Fortress because one of its main buildings is a four level stepped pyramid of enormous proportions.

It has one access only in the southern corner. With straight walls forming pentagonal figures, it has buttresses in four of its corners. These have been interpreted as bastions, therefore, a military character was attributed to the structure.

The pyramid resembles a llama of stylised shape when watched from the air. The head of the animal is the northern bastion and the two bastions of the west would be the lower extremities. However, there is no data indicating that its builders have had the intention of giving it such a shape.

According to what can be appreciated in some sectors, the monument was at one point painted in yellow earth colour, and according to what chroniclers tell, it had murals with iconographic representations of birds and felines. The Fortress of Paramonga is 30 metres high measured from the base of the valley.

Most of the constructions are located on the upper platform. There are two outstanding twin rooms towards the north, separated by a narrow passage with no way out, 40 centimetres wide. Their dimensions are of 5.30 by 4.60 and 2.20 metres high.

There is a room of 7.50 by 1.50 metres south of these precincts. It still has a small part of its original paint. The friezes form a checkerboard pattern with 19 centimetre squares of white and red colours up to one metre high.

Right after that, there is a panel painted in bright yellow earth colour with undulating red lines, that could well represent snakes or part of the "ferocious animals" seen by the chroniclers.

The checkerboard pattern of the lower part is repeated on top of this panel.

The Fortress's entrance has been kept in good conditions. It is conformed by a series of openings, passageways and ramps. The doorframe has double pillars at each side and resembles an Inca style door, even though this one has straight lines and not trapezoidal.

Address: Archaeological Compound at 203 kilometres from the city of Lima.



SUPE

You find the port and the peaceful town of Supe coming through the Pan American Highway, before reaching Barranca. They are 186 and 185 kilometres north of Lima respectively. They are both districts of the province of Barranca.

Whilst the town is dedicated to commerce and agriculture, the port lives from industry and fishing. It could become a sole and tollo paradise for fishing lovers. The 29th of June the port is dressed for the festivity meant to honour the saint patron of fishermen: Saint Peter.

A group of 18 pre-Hispanic settlements is located in the valley.



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SACRED CITY OF CARAL

It is the most important pre-Hispanic settlement of the zone, and probably one of the most important of the country. The Sacred City of Caral is considered the oldest in America. It belongs to the Late Archaic Period, between 3000 and 1600 years B.C.

It is a settlement built of stones. It has numerous and extensive precincts. Pyramidal buildings, temples, residential sectors, plazas, amphitheatres, warehouses, coliseums, graves, altars and streets can be appreciated.

It is believed that Caral was the first seat of state established in the history of Peru.

It occupies an area of 65 hectares approximately, and the number of its inhabitants has been estimated at about 3000 individuals.

In spite of most buildings being still covered by debris and affected by the pass of the centuries, some of its most impressive constructions have been restored.

Amongst it most outstanding precincts are the Main Temple, accompanied by a pyramid 18 metres high, the zone of the atrium, the amphitheatre, and the altar of the fire, from where 32 wooden flutes delicately decorated have been rescued, and other instruments which suggest that the place held an intense religious activity.

Three years ago the investigators in charge of the excavations and the restorations in Caral, realised a Musical Shop during which the flutes of Caral where tested with the purpose of reproducing the sound of each one of them, just like they would have sound 3000 years ago. It was an amazing experience.

How to get there: travellers must penetrate 23 kilometres inland going through a dirt road starting at the town of Supe.

Visits: with previous authorisation.

Telephone: (511) 332-5380



PATIVILCA


It is a district nearly bordering the city of Barranca. Liberator Simon Bolivar installed his headquarters in the town during the emancipation war. The big old house is currently a museum exhibiting pieces of furniture, photographs and documents concerning the stay of the liberator in that house.


 
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