The Sanctuary of Pachacamac in Lima
Pachacamac is one of the most important tourist attractions in Lima. It is an important religious sanctuary worshiped by various cultures throughout various cultures of ancient Peru. The Incas were the ones who built the main structures such as temples, squares, pyramids and even an acllawasi (house of the virgins of the sun). Today, the archaeological site has a beautiful site museum where the idol of Pachacamac is exhibited.
All about the Sanctuary of Pachacamac in Lima
What is it?
The Historic Sanctuary of Pachacamac is an archaeological site in the south of Lima. It was a very important religious sanctuary or oracle where diverse cultures worshiped and left their offerings.
The archaeological site of Pachacamac covers 465,032 hectares. The site is made up of walls, streets, squares, enclosures, temples, warehouses and other buildings made over a thousand years. Research work continues to uncover finds at the site.
Pachacamac was a god – oracle, the most important on the coast of ancient Peru. Its name means ‘Soul of the earth’. It is credited with the power to produce tremors. Pilgrims from different parts of the continent came to his sanctuary. The Spanish, upon their arrival there, looted the sanctuary.
Today Pachacamac is one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru. The authorities implemented a didactic site museum. There is also an area of research.
Where is it?
The archaeological site of Pachacamac is located 36 kilometers from the center of the city of Lima on the coast of Peru, district of Lurín. Geographically it is located in the Lurín valley, just a few meters from the sea.
His address is: Antigua Panamericana Sur kilometer 31.5, Lurín – Lima.
How to get there?
Most tourists visit the archaeological site of Pachacamac through a tour that already includes the transportation service. However, if you want to visit the place on your own, you must take public transport.
The public transport buses that cover route 8510 (San Bartolo – San Miguel) can leave you at the entrance door. The buses are taken in any section of the Panamericana Sur in the city of Lima. The journey costs approximately 3.50 Peruvian soles (approximately 1 US dollar). The trip takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
History of Pachacamac
The oldest finds in Pachacamac correspond to the Lima culture, which spanned from 100 AD to 650 AD Some of the buildings corresponding to this time are the Old Temple or the Temple of Urpi Huachac. The settlers, favored by the waters, settled there for three thousand years. The main activity was fishing.
Between 600 AD and 1100 AD the Wari culture inhabited Pachacamac. It is at this time that Pachacamac is affirmed as an important oracle. Later the place was inhabited by the Ychma culture. Pyramids, ramps and more were built in this period.
Finally, from 1470 the Incas established in Pachacamac one of the most important sanctuaries of the empire. Perhaps the most important construction of this period is the Acllawasi, the temple of the virgins of the sun. The Inca himself traveled immense distances from Cusco to access the oracle.
In 1533 with the arrival of the Spanish, the sanctuary of Pachacamac was looted. By then it was the most important oracle and sanctuary on the Pacific coast. Sand covered the place until it was discovered in the 20th century by important researchers such as Max Uhle, Julio César Tello, Arturo Jiménez Borja and more.
Currently the archaeological site of Pachacamac is one of the most important historical monuments in Peru. The place, run by the Ministry of Culture, has a beautiful museum, a research center and large areas for tourist visits.
What to see?
The Temple of the Sun – The most important building in Pachacamac. It was built by the Incas who awarded it the worship of the sun, their main god. It is made up of five pyramidal structures whose base is made of stone and the rest of adobe. The chronicles indicate that the idol of Pachacamac was kept there along with offerings of gold and silver. After the arrival of the Spanish, the idol was burned and the jewels stolen.
The Temple of the Moon – This famous building is also called ‘Mamaconas’. It was an Acllahuasi, that is, the residence of virgin women dedicated to the cult of the sun god. It consists of several enclosures with bleachers, colcas, water reservoirs and temples with niches. Everything is made with fine carvings of stone and adobe preserved in great shape until today.
The Old Temple – One of the oldest buildings in Pachacamac. They probably correspond to the Lima culture, which inhabited the place between the 3rd and 7th centuries AD. It was a temple built with small blocks of adobe on a promontory of rocks. Today, much of its structure is destroyed. Due to its antiquity it is also called the ‘Primal Temple’.
The Painted Temple – The name of this temple is due to the fact that its walls were adorned with zoomorphic, geometric and human figures in green, blue and yellow tones. This temple dates from the Tiahuanaco – Wari period (from 650 AD to 900 AD). It is a stepped pyramid that is reached by long ramps. Due to the passage of time, the figures and the coloration of the enclosure are not distinguishable.
The building of Tauri Chumpi – Taurichumbi was the Inca curaca or governor in Pachacamac at the time of the arrival of the Spanish in 1533. It is an enclosure of several rooms made of stone and adobe and that, after the passage of time, is semi destroyed. The chronicles state that Hernando Pizarro arrived there, requesting the curaca to enter the enclosure of the sun where the god Pachacamac was and the offerings of gold and silver.
Regional nunciatures – This set of 16 buildings belongs to the time of the Ychma culture (from 1100 AD to 1450 AD). These buildings are made with a stone base and semi-destroyed adobe walls. It is believed that they were already abandoned for the arrival of the Spanish to Pachacamac. Its name ‘nunciature’ refers to the chronicle of Antonio de la Calancha (1639) who states that these buildings were ‘diplomatic – religious’ headquarters.
The Pilgrims’ Square – As its name suggests, this rectangular space of more than 300 meters was a square for pilgrims who hoped to visit the Temple of the Sun (the oracle of Pachacamac). It dates from the Inca period. It was made up of walls, columns and surely a reed roof. It should be noted that Pachacamac was part of the Inca road network, the Qhapac ñan. The Inca made a distant pilgrimage and fasting for several days to reach Pachacamac.
The site museum of Pachacamac
The Pachacamac site museum is one of the most modern and best designed in Peru. It is located next to the entrance and serves as a prelude to the tour of the archaeological site.
The museum offers a synthesis of the historical and cultural importance of the Pachacamac Sanctuary. Among its most notable exhibitions is the ‘idol of Pachacamac’, the room of ceramic offerings from the Wari period as well as an exhibition of Inca ‘quipus’ found in the Taurichumpi building.
The organization of the museum is thematic showing chronologically the historical development of the sanctuary, from 200 AD to the Inca period in 1470 AD The entrance is included in the entrance to Pachacamac.
How much does it cost to visit Pachacamac?
The entrance ticket to the Pachacamac Sanctuary includes the archaeological site and the site museum and has the following rate:
- General adult: 15 Peruvian soles.
- University student: 5 Peruvian soles.
- Children (from 3 to 17 years old): 1 Peruvian sol.
- Children under 3 years old: Free.
- Complete special route: 20 Peruvian soles.
- Route with tourist guide: 30 Peruvian soles.
- Adults over 60 years: 7.50 Peruvian soles.
On the first Sunday of each month, Peruvian tourists of any age enter the Pachacamac Sanctuary for free. For this, it is mandatory to show the national identity document (DNI).
The opening hours of the museum and archaeological site of Pachacamac are from Monday to Saturday from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. In emergencies such as protests, natural disasters, or epidemics, business hours may change.
At the entrance of Pachacamac there are tourist guides offering their services.
Tours to Pachacamac generally last half a day and cost approximately US $ 35 per tourist.
The Sanctuary of Pachacamac also has a cafeteria, access for wheelchairs, a toy library for the little ones, handicraft shops and an offering area with prior coordination.