Nestled away in the heart of Miraflores, the most picturesque district in Peru’s capital city Lima, is the Huaca Pucllana. Steeped in history and culture, these remarkable ruins are one of the highlights of this diverse and fascinating city and can be easily explored in a couple of hours.
It is believed that this set of ruins was constructed around 500 AD, during what was then a heyday for Lima. Over the past century, extensive excavation has revealed much about these ruins and the civilizations that once called it home. Indeed, mummies and artifacts have been unearthed here, helping historians piece together the truth about Peru’s turbulent history.
The structure of the ruins takes the form of a huge clay and adobe pyramid and comprises seven staggered platforms. It is likely that when the ruins were in use, they served as a ceremonial center for the local people. The ceremonial hub of the ruins would have been used for worshipping and offering sacrifices to the Gods.
An interesting fact about the ruins is that in most other parts of the world they would have long been destroyed. The bricks that compose the structure are essentially made from dried mud, which would dissolve in the rain. However, Lima gets virtually no rain all year round and it is for this reason the complex still stands where it is today.
Perhaps what is most striking about the ruins nowadays is their location. The ruins can be found in the middle of residential Miraflores. The contrast between the ancient ruins and the modern houses of Limeñans certainly makes for an odd juxtaposition but it is actually quite charming. The way the homes have been built show a great respect for the ruins as they do not encroach upon the ancient plaza at all, but instead, give it enough space so as not to look out of place or overcrowded.
But, the ruins themselves are only part of what makes the site of Huaca Pucllana such a great place to visit. What makes this set of ruins different to any other you will find in Peru is the extravagant gourmet restaurant that sits within its grounds.
Peruvian food has a reputation for being the best culinary offering in South America and Lima is the hub of all this gastronomic splendor. Sprinkled around the city are a few restaurants that will show you just why Peruvian food is so highly thought of and the restaurant at Huaca Pucllana is one of them. On the menu here you will find ceviche, plenty of fish and meat plates, salads, pasta and more. Each dish has been expertly crafted by the chef and presented in a spectacular manner.
If you are looking for a delicious meal in a truly one-of-a-kind environment, Huaca Pucllana is definitely the place to go. What’s more, it’s a great way to break up your day out and refuel before carrying on your adventure in Lima. Once you have finished at the ruins, be sure to check out the catacombs under the Monastery of San Francisco as well as the Larcomar Mall, which is built into the side of a cliff and overlooks the ocean.
Take note that if you want to visit the ruins you will need to bring cash for the entry fee (12 soles/ $4). This includes entry to the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site and a tour guide who will take you around and explain the history of the site. Be sure to also take plenty of water and sunscreen as it can get hot in Lima! Also, if you have the time, go back at night. The complex will be closed but the ruins are all lit up and an utterly magnificent sight to behold.
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