In the city of Lima, the huacas are the earliest evidence of at least 5,000 years of occupation, use and development of the territory, making them the main palimpsests of the city, witnesses to numerous processes of territorial development and the creation of cultural and urban landscapes.
Having a huaca close to home gives you direct access to history. In fact, many of the huacas in Lima have on-site museums and very complete visitor facilities, so it is possible to take a guided tour and learn a little of our past.
While Traveling and discovering extraordinary historical places like these huacas that surround Lima you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to have a tourist SIM card. In order to understand and find new adventures, here in PeruSIM.
Now let’s take a look on why huacas are so important for Peruvians and what can you learn and visit on your next trip:
What is a huaca?
Historian Juan Luis Orrego Penagos explains:
“By definition, huaca is the Quechua term that refers to a sacred place or object. Therefore, huaca can be a religious construction, a hill, a lagoon, a stream, a tree, a cave or any place or object (a stone, an idol or a mummy) that the ancient Peruvians considered sacred.”
“Over time, the term has changed its connotation and today we call huaca all pre-Hispanic monumental and architectural heritage such as temples, administrative centers, fortresses, cemeteries, etc. In other words, Peruvians today associate the term with any physical construction erected by our ancestors.”
According to the Royal Academy of Language, “huaca” is a Quechua word that was first documented in the 16th century, as part of the chronicle “Suma y Narración de los Incas” by Juan de Betanzos, to refer to a building site dedicated to the worship of the gods of some pre-Columbian American cultures. In both cases, the word “huaca” acquires a sacred connotation related to the divine.
The importance of huaca preservation
“Huaqueo” is an illegal activity that consists of carrying out excavations, without any care or protocol, in sites of historical interest, with the objective of extracting valuable pieces and commercializing them on the black market.
The consequences of looting are disastrous for archaeological research, since there is no proper excavation methodology, which damages the evidence.
It is the duty of the State to promote measures to prevent and avoid looting, as well as that of private institutions to develop initiatives to promote and disseminate knowledge in relation to cultural heritage, to revalue and promote the protection of huacas, among other archaeological remains.
These are some of the most remarkable huacas you can visit in Lima :
Huaca Maranga – San Miguel
The huacas of Maranga are a group of 54 adobe buildings whose construction dates back to the beginning of our era and is currently located within the Park of Legends. Its great extension and historical importance made it to be declared cultural patrimony of the nation in 2003.
Being within the park boundaries, the huacas are available to anyone who wishes to visit them. The facilities include a site museum and offer the possibility of touring the Cruz Blanca and San Miguel huacas.
Huaca Mateo Salado – Pueblo Libre
It is made up of five staggered pyramids whose 17 hectares make it one of the most important archeological complexes in the city. Because of this, the complex was declared cultural patrimony of the nation in 2001.
If you want to know closely the Huaca Mateo Salado, you should know that it is possible to visit the set of gigantic structures and make an educational guided tour. It is currently located on Mariano Cornejo Avenue, between blocks 12 and 13, very close to the Plaza de la Bandera.
Huaca Pucllana – Miraflores
Built by the Lima culture around the year 200 of our era, the Huaca Pucllana is quite particular. It was built using adobe bricks placed vertically, an unusual procedure known as the bookcase technique.
Today, the huaca is located on Calle General Borgoño block 8, at the 45th block of Avenida Arequipa in Miraflores. If you plan to visit it, you should know that the site also has an exhibition hall in which various ceramics are exhibited and even has a restaurant, so it represents a great way to spend the weekend.
Huaca Puruchuco – Ate Vitarte
Located in the district of Ate and more than 500 years old, the huaca Puruchuco was built in the time of the Incas. Although the purpose of many of its enclosures is still shrouded in mystery, it is known that the huaca functioned as the place of residence of the curaca of this area.
Currently, the huaca is located on the central highway km 4.5. The museum has rooms with exhibits of ceramics and metal artifacts obtained during excavations. In addition, the facilities have parking, recreational spaces for children and workshops with many different activities.
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