The Ruins of Pachacamac — Archaeological site of Peru

1. History of the Archaeological Site:

The Pachacamac ruins are further proof that the Peruvian coast were inhabited by different advanced civilizations during the pre-Hispanic period, such as the Lima culture (200 AD), then the Wari Empire and finally the arrival of the Incas in 1470 AD who were led by the 10th emperor, known as Tupaq Inca Yupanqui.

During the pre-Hispanic period, Pachacamac was a ceremonial center that brought together many buildings erected by different cultures. In this ceremonial place there were pyramidal temples, houses and frescoes, which decorated the adobe walls; Also in this place, there was a totem (physical representation of God Pachacamac).

In conclusion, we can say that Pachacamac was a ceremonial center where it was believed that the God Pachacamac lived, who was the “creator of this world”; That is why the pilgrimage to this temple was very constant and numerous, especially by the coastal populations of ancient Peru.


2. What is the meaning of the term Pachacamac?

The term Pachacamac derives from the Quechua language: Pacha means earth, world, universe, space and time; the word Camac means creator, maker and originator.


3. What is the God Pachacamac?

When the Incas consolidated the conquest of the coastal cultures of Peru at the end of the 15th century, they didn’t try to replace the god Pachacamac or destroy the temple of Pachacamac; but rather they incorporated the God Pachacamac into the Inca religion and embellished this temple, making it even more popular during the Inca period.

las ruinas de Pachacamac

Pre-Hispanic societies believed that Pachacamac had many connotations: Son of the God of the Sun, God of Fire, Creator of the Earth, Creator of the Universe, Creator of all things in this World, etc; It was also believed to have powers to rejuvenate, bring well-being, improve the practice of agriculture, cure diseases, etc.

Pachacamac was also linked to various elements of nature, such as water, fire and even earthquakes; He would be the cause of the tremors, but also the protector of it; as long as he was revered and pleased with many offerings.


4. The Legend of Pachacamac—Cavillaca

One of the most famous legends in Pachacamac tells that there was once upon a time a beautiful and vain woman called Cavillaca and all the gods wanted her to be his wife, but none achieved their purpose.

Cuniraya Wiracocha was a wise man who found a way to transform himself into a bird to conquer the maiden, he perched on a tree and made a fruit fall in front of the woman, which she ate and thus became pregnant of this man.

After nine months of pregnancy, Cavillaca had a very beautiful daughter, as it was not known who the father was, a meeting was held to find out who the father was, but nobody said anything. Cuniraya Wiracocha was not invited to the table of honor, but rather was sitting in a corner with very ragged clothes, waiting for some food to fall so that he can eat.

The maiden said to her daughter:

“Go and recognize your father who is here.”

The girl, crawling, went to the side of Cuniraya Wiracochathe ragged man; the mother after having seeing this situation, grabbed her daughter and disgusted ran to throw herself and her daughter into the sea.

Cuniraya Wiracocha run after her with a suit full of gold, he wanted to tell her that he dressed in rags, because he wanted to take away her vanity, but she didn’t turn around, because she was disgusted by what she had seen and didn’t want to see Cuniraya Wiracocha again, until she reached the sea and threw herself with her daughter, thus transforming both into a rock, because of her vanity.

Do you want to see the rock?

If you are in Pachacamac, you can see a small rocky island, the largest rock, represents Cavillaca and the small rock represents her daughter.

las ruinas de Pachacamac
The Legend of Pachacamac – Cavillaca

5. What civilizations occupied the Pachacamac complex?

5.1 The Lima culture (250 AD – 650 AD)

The first settlers of Pachacamac, began around the year 200 AD by the Lima Culture, who built the first temples in the religious sector, the construction techniques and the materials used by them were very simple, that is why adobitos (thin and rectangular adobes, very basic adobes) were mainly used; This fact is also because Lima culture had no technological influence from other civilizations.

5.2 Wari culture (650 AD – 1200 AD)

By 650 AD, the Wari culture took possession of this ceremonial center and the entire territory that belonged to the Lima culture; During the Wari occupation, the Pachacamac temple began to gain more size due to the new buildings that the Wari people erected, for example the Pachacamac Temple, also known as the Painted Temple.

According to the analysis of the excavations, it is concluded that the Waris militarily defeated the Lima culture; However, the Waris maintain the local traditions and art of the Lima culture, as proof of this, you can see that Wari ceramics have notable characteristics of the Lima culture from the year 650 AD.

5.3 The Ychsma or Ichma culture (1200 AD – 1470 AD)

In 1200 AD, the Ichma culture begins to expand and finally occupies the city and the ceremonial center of Pachacamac, this fact is not because the Ichma have defeated the Waris; but rather The Incas defeated the Waris in the Andes, this event favored the expansion of the Ichma culture.

During the Ichma occupation, Pachacamac increased its magnificence, for example: the Painted Temple was fortified and 15 main temples, stepped pyramids with ramps, storage facilities were also erected and the number of courtyards for ceremonial activities was increased.

5.4 The Inca Empire (1470 AD – 1535 AD)

After the defeat of the Waris in the Andes, the Incas went to the Peruvian coast to defeat various pre-Inca cultures such as the Chimu, the Chincha and the Ichma between AD 1450 and AD 1470; This military expedition was led by the 10th emperor known as Inca Tupaq Yupanqui.

Like the Waris and the Ichma, the Inca rulers allowed Pachacamac to coexist alongside their Sun God and Wiracocha (the creator God of everything for the Incas).

las ruinas de Pachacamac

The Inca architects increased the number of buildings, for example: they built the Temple of the Sun and the famous AcllaWasi or House of the chosen women (generally very young women), in these enclosures (only for women), use to live the Mamaconas who were the instructors to teach the young women different skills in textiles, ceramics and culinary.


6. What to see?

Finally, in the late 19th century, some archaeologists began the excavations at Pachacamac and found many buildings of great importance and burial sites, which had been destroyed in the colonial period.

  1. The religious sector: In this area you will see the three truncated and stepped Pyramids, the Painted Temple, the Temple of the Sun, the Ancient Temple of Pachacamac and the cemetery.
  2. The Pyramid Sector: The second section includes several secular and stepped adobe pyramids with ramps and plazas, this part of the complex dates from the late 1300 AD and mids 1400 AD.

For decades, most archaeologists thought that the pyramids of the second section were religious centers, which housed delegations from distant communities, who came on pilgrimage to worship and pay homage to the God Pachacamac.

However, according to archaeologist Peter Eekhout, who studied and excavated the Pachacamac archaeological site with his team, they discovered that the structures lacked the characteristics of religious centers of the time and that is why Peter and his team came to the conclusion that The Pyramids Sector of the Second Section were used as palaces by the pre-Hispanic rulers of Pachacamac and not as ceremonial centers.


7. Where is Pachacamac?

This archaeological site is located at Antigua Panamericana Sur km 31.5 in Lurín.


8. Opening Hours

  • Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
  • Sundays from 9am to 4pm.

Note:

Please call +511 3215606 to confirm the museum’s operation on holidays: July 28, December 25, January 1, etc.


9. Price

Tipo de VisitantePrice in SolesPrice is USD
Adult15 Soles5 USD
Students of Universities and Institutes (with valid canet)5 Soles 1.8 USD
Teachers, active military and adults over 65 with an Identity Document7.50 Soles 2.5 USD
Children under 12 years of age, Primary and Secondary schoolchildren1 Sol0.40 USD

Included:

  • Access to the Pachacamac ruins.
  • Access to the Pachacamac site museum.

Not Included:

The price of the ticket does not include a tour guide service, the guides charge about 30 Soles for 1.5 hours of service, the price will depend on the size of the group, schedule and the route you prefer.


10. Pachacamac on-site museum

This site museum was founded in 1965, it is one of the first site museums in Peru, in this museum you will see artifacts such as ceramics, textiles, wooden idols known as Pachacamac, etc.

Most of these archaeological remains were found during excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries.


11. How to get to the Pachacamac ruins?


11.1 For People from Lima city:

There are several lines of public transport whose bus-stops are at the door of the museum.

  • Ruta 8504: San Bartolo – Breña (Morado con blanco) – E.T. San José S.A.
  • Ruta 8508: Lima – Pucusana (Color blanco con letras negras) – E.T. Royal Express.
  • Ruta 8510/8511: San Miguel – San Bartolo (Color marrón con naranja) – E.T. GUSICSA.

If you want to use the Metropolitano buses, take those buses and get off at the final station called Matellini, then any bus heading to Villa El Salvador (we recommed you to take: Ruta AS-04 – Embarque 11) and get off at Supro, bus stop, then you cross the pedestrian bridge of the Panamericana Sur towards Universidad Científica del Sur; at that stop you can take any of the bus lines mentioned above.

11.2 For Peruvians and foreign tourists:

We advise you to use Uber or private taxi, due to security issues, orientation and distance of the attraction (It is not near Lima historic center or Miraflores).

Getting to Pachacamac from Lima downtown by private transportation, will take you 1.5 hours and from Miraflores or Barranco to Pachacamac about 45 minutes; The prices will not be cheap, so we advise you to take a group tour via a travel agency.


12. Nearby places:


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las ruinas de Pachacamac