Pachacamac: The most important pre-Inca sacred site in Peruvian coast

No place in Peruvian coast was as important and sacred as Pachacamac. For 2000 years, it was visited by pilgrims from many ancient Andean cultures, like Lambayeque, Nazca, Wari, Tiwanaku, and Chimu before the Incas claimed the site as part of their empire and converted it in the largest center in central and southern Peru.

Learn more about Pachacamac, described by historians as the Mecca of Peru.

1. Location

Pachacamac is located in Lurin Valley, near the Lurin River, and at 40 kilometres southeast of Lima; That is, the central coast of Peru. As a coastal city, it is very close to Pacific Ocean.

2. Pachacamac: Maker of the Earth

The site was named after the god of the same name (Pacha Kamaq), who was worshipped there. In coastal mythology,  this god was considered the ‘Maker of the Earth’, a creator god who was also associated with earthquakes. The Incas also took him into their pantheon, but was not an equal of Viracocha, who was more powefrul.


3. Pachacamac: The sacred site

The earliest major occupation and construction of Pachacamac dates to c. 200 BCAD 600 and to a culture known as Early Lima. The terraced adobe pyramid and temple known as the Temple of Pachacamac belongs to this time and culture.

Time after, under Huari Empire control, it became very famous for being the seat of an oracle. Then, the site attracted pilgrims from far and wide to consult its oracle. In order to do it, they were expected to make offerings such as foodstuffs, coca, textiles, and any other precious goods.

After the collapse of the Huari empire, this place continued to grow as a religious center.

By 1470, Inca Empire invaded the area but maintained it as a religious shrine and allowed the Pachacamac priests to continue functioning with a higher degree of autonomy than most conquered areas because of the antiquity of the oracle and the importance of the site to many Andean cultures.


4. Temples and shrines

The archeological site of Pachacamac is a complex of enormous buildings that include secular pyramids with ramps and plazas, dated between the late 1300s and the mid-1400s, and religious buildings, like shrines and temples.

The Incas built the famous Temple of the Sun, which is 30 000 m squared in size and is in the shape of a trapezoid. Its walls were painted red and decorated with animal paintings. They also built the Oracle of Pachacamac, a sacred wooden statue situated inside a large temple complex built on a stepped earthen platform.

¿Do you want to visit Pachacamac an other coastal tourist attractions? In Explorandes we offer a Southern Lima Multiactivity tour, but also Machu Picchu and Choquequirao treks. To lear more about our services, please contact us.[:]

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