MONUMENTS OF THE PRE-COLONIAL ERA
The most popular monument of the time of the great Inca Empire and the most popular attraction in Peru is the sacred city of Machu Picchu. It is located 120 km northwest of Cusco at an altitude of 2700 m above sea level on a mountain plateau. You can get here from Cusco along the Inca Trail or by train. Machu Picchu covers an area of about 33 thousand hectares. This is the Archaeological Park, in which the famous Gate of the Sun “Intihuatana” and the observatory, temples, defensive walls, stairs, drains and pools, thousands of terraces carved into the rocks, the palace of the Moon and ancient burials were excavated. Entrance to the territory of the Archaeological Park is paid and costs about 40 US dollars.
According to Top-mba-universities, the Inca Trail runs from Machu Picchu to the city of Pisac along the Sacred Valley. In ancient times, the main cities of the Inca Empire were located here. The local climate and the Urubamba River flowing here allowed the Incas to grow crops. The valley also protected the highlands from the raids of militant tribes who lived in the jungles of the east of the country. The Inca Trail is very popular with hikers.
In the Sacred Valley, the pyramid city of Ollantaytambo is interesting. It is divided into several parts, each of which has an entrance through a hole in the rock. From here you get to the central square, which is surrounded by houses. Part of the city, where the main temples were once concentrated, is located on a hill, to which steps carved into the rock lead. In the Sacred Valley, it is also worth visiting the village of Chinchero, where the Incas believed the rainbow was born. In the vicinity of Pisac, you can visit the ruins of an ancient fortification that protected the entrance to the Urubamba river valley. This complex of buildings was carved from the rocks. Now the ruins of the fortress rise above the river, from here a beautiful view of the surroundings opens.
30 km from the city of Pisac is one of the most ancient cities in the world – Cusco . It was founded in 1200 at an altitude of 3360 m above sea level and became the capital of the mighty Inca Empire. UNESCO declared Cusco a Cultural Patrimony of Humanity. The first thing that catches your eye is that most of the buildings of the Inca era are built from huge stones without the use of mortar, despite the fact that the gap between the stones is almost invisible. The streets of Cusco are straight and narrow. In order to see the main attractions of the city, tourists are advised to purchase a “tourist ticket”. It costs about $20 and is valid for 10 days. With it, you can visit most of the interesting places in Cusco. In the heart of the city is Armas Square, which in Inca times was a cult center called Uyakayapata (“place of tears”). Here once stood the granite Palace of the Supreme Inca Pachacute, the remains of which have survived to this day. Not far from the square is the Church of Santo Domingo. The Church of Santo Domingo was built on the site of an ancient temple of the Sun, the remains of which can be seen at its western wall. Until now, people are looking for a huge golden disc, symbolizing the sun, which was supposed to be preserved from the ancient temple. However, despite the fact that the conquistadors claimed not to have touched it, no one can find it.
Northwest of the city center of Cusco, on the top of the mountain are the ruins of a complex of religious and military buildings of the Incas – Sacsayhuaman. The Incas built this complex to protect themselves from enemies. Here you can see three parallel powerful stone walls of a zigzag shape. They were built of stone blocks, the largest of which has a height of 8.5 m and weighs about 300 tons. The center of the building is the “throne of the Inca”, it is surrounded by 21 bastions with powerful towers. Nearby lie the ruins of the fortresses of Kenko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachai. At the top of Mount Kenko, zigzag channels were carved into the rock, through which blood flowed from the places of sacrifice. The Tambomachay fortress was used for ritual ablutions.
80 km from the country’s capital Lima, at an altitude of about 3900 m, is the Markauasi plateau. with a huge number of ancient sculptures and rock paintings. On a rocky cliff 29 km south of Lima lies the most important religious center of the pre-Inca period – Pachacamac. This is a place of worship for the Divine Creator of the Earth, where the Temple of the Sun was built during the heyday of the Inca Empire. Also of interest are the ruins of the city of Karala, which have been recently restored. This place is located 150 km north of Lima. The city was founded more than 5,000 years ago, now you can see pyramids, temples and squares similar to the buildings of Machu Picchu.
110 km from the city of Uraza are the ruins of the Chavin de Huntar fortress.. Its construction began in the 13th century BC. These are the only remnants of the Chavin civilization. Chavin de Juntra was its main ceremonial center. Here you can see the central square, the stairs leading to the pyramid of Castilla, under which there is the main shrine of the Chavin civilization – the 5-meter mountain Lanzan.
On the western coast of the country, 22 km north of the city of Nazca , on a desert plain, there are mysterious drawings carved in stone, which are visible only from a height. Their sizes are impressive – they vary from 40 m to 8 km. These drawings are tentatively dated to the 8th-4th centuries BC. e. It depicts geometric shapes, animals, birds and people. The drawings were first discovered during an airplane flight in 1939. There are many hypotheses about the purpose of ornaments. Nazca. One of them is that the ornaments are part of a huge astronomical calendar, the other is that they were applied by aliens from outer space. In order to view the Nazca ornaments, tourists are offered hour-long excursions by plane.
To the north along the Pacific coast is the city of Trujillo . Not far from it lie the ruins of the capital of the ancient empire Chimu Chan-Chan.. His buildings include places of worship, powerful walls and houses. Chan Chan is considered a unique place due to the fact that it was built only with the help of clay and stones. It is also the largest clay city in the world, its area is about 75 square meters. km. The most impressive buildings of Chan Chan are the temple-fortress of Tshudi, the temple of Huaca Esmeralda, the temple of the Rainbow and numerous pyramids. A museum of the same name has been opened in Chan Chan, which presents a collection of ceramics and an exposition telling about the history of these places.
In the southeast of the country, on the islands of Lake Titicaca and its environs, there are ruins of ancient settlements. In this regard, the most interesting are the island of Taquile and the ancient port city of Tiahuanaco.
CITIES OF THE COLONIAL PERIOD
Lima is the capital of Peru. The city was founded in 1535 by the conquistadors and became the capital of the Spanish possessions in America. The Old Town of Lima has been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Armas Square is located in its central part. This is the place where Francisco Pizarro made the first settlement. In the center of it stands a large stone fountain. In the northern part of the square is the Government Palace with the residence of the President of the country. Every morning at 11:45 there is a changing of the guard of honor. In the eastern part of the square rises the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. Its construction began in 1564 and was completed in 1622. In 1746, during an earthquake, the building was destroyed and was rebuilt in 1755. Here, in a small chapel, the remains of Francisco Pizarro are buried.
Five minutes from the square is the convent of San Francisco. This building was built at the end of the 17th century and was practically the only one (of similar large buildings) that survived the earthquakes in 1687 and 1746. The monastery is made in baroque style in yellow and white and is considered the most beautiful in the city. The main attractions of the monastery are its dungeons. Before the first cemetery was organized in Lima, about 75 thousand bodies were buried here. Also of interest is the old library of the 17th century.
In Lima many museums telling about the history and culture of Peru. Among the most popular are the National Museum, which occupies 3 floors. Here are exhibited collections of finds from the pre-Columbian era, national costumes, ceramics and mummies. The Rafael Larco Herrera Museum of Ceramics has the largest private collection of pre-Columbian pottery. In the National Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, you can see one of the largest collections of archaeological finds relating to ancient civilizations of the pre-colonial period.
The city of Arequipa is located in the southern part of the country at an altitude of 2335 m above sea level between the volcanoes Misti Chachani and Ampato. It is the second largest city in Peru and its major economic center. Arequipa was founded in 1540. The city is filled with the spirit of the colonial era. The houses here are built of white stone with carved facades. The central square of the city of Armas is considered the most beautiful in Peru. The main attraction of Arequipa is the convent of Santa Catalina, which was built in 1580. It was only opened to the public in 1970. Now the interior of the monastery is decorated with paintings and furniture of the colonial style. This is a real separate city. Inside the walls of the monastery there are flower gardens with beautiful fountains, there are even small streets connecting the buildings of the complex. Other interesting places in the city include the Cathedral, the Jesuit Church of La Campania, the former mint of Casa de la Moneda and the Casa Moral mansion.
Very beautiful city of Trujillo . It is the capital of the Pacific coast and was founded in 1535. In the city, along tree-lined avenues, there are mansions built in the Spanish style and decorated with beautiful balconies. Of the sights of Trujillo, the Central Square, the Town Hall, the Bishop’s Palace and the Cathedral stand out.