Peruvian Civilisations

 

Peru in my opinion has more ancient civilisations under one roof than any other country in South America and let’s start with Lima. If you travel from Lima south along the Pan American Highway, you will in less than one hour arrive to the ruins of Pachacamac, which date back to 200 AD and this word in Quechua translates to, ‘ The Creator ‘ or ‘ Earth Maker ‘. These ruins highlight one of the more significant religious sites from Pre -Inca Peru. Traveling further south and following the pacific coast line we will eventually arrive to the National Reserve of Paracas, a very beautiful nature reserve and then finally Nazca. Here we have the famous lines etched into the desert sand, which until this day have not disappeared. It is believed that the Nazca Culture originated around 100 BC and created these lines for water, though other theorist believe that they were created by aliens from outer space. If you fly above the lines you will see many different figures including birds and plants, there are in total some three hundred spread over a thousand square kilometres.  Returning to Lima and traveling north some three hours we will arrive to Caral, regarded as the oldest city found in the America’s. You will witness one of the worlds earliest examples of city planning. After traveling inland to the town of Huaraz high in the Andes, you will find the Huascaran with an elevation of 6,768 meters and the fourth highest mountain within the Andes Range. Not far from here we will find Chavin one of the first major culture’s in Peru, which developed in the northern highlands from 900 BC to 200 BC and is recognised as having laid cultural foundations for all future civilisations and was the first to have recognizable artistic styles. Returning back down to the coast and continuing north, we will arrive to Trujillo which was the centre of the Moche civilisation, which thrived between the 1st and 8th century. They are regarded as the most accomplished artists and metal workers of any of the early Andean cultures. Latter they spread to the region around Chiclayo, notably at the sites of Pampa Grande and Sipan.  After this came the Chimu culture with its capital Chan Chan, a large adobe city in the Moche Valley, which is now the present-day city of Trujillo. This culture arose about 900 AD succeeding the Moche civilisation, but was latter conquered by the Inca emperor Topa Inca Yuqanqui around 1470, fifty years before the arrival of the Spanish. They were known for their farming, fishing, monochromatic pottery and fine metal workings of copper, gold, silver, bronze and tumbaga (copper and gold ). Next traveling right up into the north of Peru, about a day’s journey, we will arrive to the town of Chachapoyas, in Quechua, ‘The Warriors of the Clouds ‘. This was a culture which existed from about 9th to 15th Century AD and was finally conquered by the Incas. These people were living in the cloud forest of the Amazon region and there first appearance dates back to around 600 AD. This culture created numerous stone settlements, mausoleums and sarcophagi, fragments of which still survive today, as well as the spectacular fortress of Kuelap, often compared on the same scale as Machu Picchu.   Karajia a spectacular funerary site where we can find sarcophagi in the form of human mummies that were placed inside each coffin. Lagoon of the Condors / Lagoon of the mummies, an Archaeological complex of six mausoleums, presents architectural features of the Chachapoyas culture and is decorated with rock paintings. Finally we return to the south of Peru and to the Inca capital of Cusco which flourished between 1400 and 1533 and eventually extended across western South America from Quito in the north, to Santiago in the south, making it the largest empire ever seen in the Americas and the largest in the world at that time. The Inca’s were famed for their unique art and architecture, they constructed finely- built and imposing buildings wherever they conquered. Their spectacular adaption of natural landscapes with terracing, highways and mountaintop settlements continues to impress people to-day, the most famous being Machu Picchu.

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