Pachacámac, Pre-Columbian ruins

Saturday, 14 July, we scheduled a taxi to take us to visit the nearby ruin site of Pachacámac. The site contains ruins from at least three successive groups of people before the Spaniards arrived to take it over from the Incas. Most of the site is just covered in mounds of sand with a few obvious adobe blocks sticking out. We first passed by the partially excavated ruins of the oldest residence discovered at the site. Now with a guide and our taxi driver still driving, we continued up the small hill to the Temple of the Sun. This structure is from the Inca era and is a large pyramid with a stone base and higher up adobe block construction. Originally it was capped by cane and adobe walls and roofs. We climbed to the highest existing level and enjoyed a 360-degree view around the valley, the Pacific Ocean to the west, green fields and rivers to the south and dry hills to the north and east (along with some modern settlements). Back down off the high point we visited the Palace of the Chosen Women. This structure has been about 70% reconstructed. This area is also Inca and had been used as a sort of convent for girls. The girls were raised here and trained to work in the temples and palaces of the rulers and priests. It contains several pools, gardens, work areas and living areas. The last area that we checked out at Pachacámac was a palace not far from the girls school. Only one of the courtyards has been excavated and could be looked into from the road. The plaza haa a ramp connecting it to an upper level indicating pre-Inca origin, as the Incas always built stairs.

Pachacámac had been in continuous use as a religious center since the first century AD up to when the Spanyards arrived. They did much destruction to the site in their search for gold. More destruction was later caused by grave robbers up until in recent years when the area was brought under some government protection.