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Pachacámac, a sanctuary on the coast of Peru

Knowing the culture of a place is also synonymous with travelling

Pachacámac, a word that in Quechua means «soul of the earth», is a sanctuary located on the coast of Peru, very close to Lima. It belongs to the Lurín region, occupying part of its valley, heading south by the Pan-American Highway from the capital.

It was occupied and adapted by the different civilizations and empires that settled on the Lima coast: Lima, Wari, Ychma and Inca; and with the arrival of the Spaniards it lost its function.

It functioned as a sanctuary to the god Pachacámac, to whom the creation of the universe is attributed. It worked for more than 1000 years as a place of pilgrimage and ritual celebrations, because Pachacámac also had skills as an oracle, able to predict the future or earthquakes. The pilgrims arrived annually, even from the Andes, to worship, and waited there for several days until they were served by the priests.

Recommendations

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Among the constructions that have been preserved, and that are still being restored today, we can find the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon (which worked as Acllahuasi), the Painted Temple, the Tauri Chumpi Palaces or the Inca road. The area is arid, and the Pacific Ocean saltpetre makes it difficult to preserve and tune-up, so it is common to find archaeologists and restorers working there.

Our recommendation is to go with a guided tour from Lima (about 4 hours long), to get the most out of it. The entrance costs 15 soles (€ 4) and the site also has a museum, where a wooden stick with the Pachacámac idol, a souvenir shop and a cafeteria is preserved. Also, if you visit it in spring or summer we recommend going with sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat because it can be very hot.