Peru is home to a wide selection of the world’s most fascinatingly bio-diverse landscapes. Specifically, some of the most precious gems found in this diverse kingdom are the ancient ruins in Peru.
Majestically perched in the Peruvian Andes at 2,430 meters above sea level, Machu Picchu is the best known and most spectacular of ancient ruins in all Peru, and arguably the world. An amalgamation of spiritual theory, 90 years of hardworking craftsmanship and sacrifice, it is famously (and incorrectly) known as the ‘lost city of the Incas’, and home to such sights as the Temple of the Sun and Intihuatana Stone. Since its rise to international attention ever since its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911, its popularity has grown year on year and is definitely a site not to be missed.
The Incas made footprints all around Cusco including the formidable fortress of Ollantaytambo. Strategically located at the northern end of the Sacred Valley, the ruins of Ollantaytambo are nothing but a mere marvel of extraordinary and unique construction. Unlike other Peruvian ruins, this distinguishable structure contains houses that were built consisting of 2 or 3 floors, surrounded by multiple accesses to water and agriculture.
The Pisac ruins are yet another remarkable spot with recognition within the Sacred Valley in Cusco. Changing up your routine here you can see the ruins in addition to the local market, which gathers attention from tourists and locals alike during scheduled days of the week. This destination is regularly bypassed by travelers, unquestionably a mistake for anyone in the area.
Sacsayhuamán in Cusco, Peru should set yet another stop on your South American journey. Built in 1100 AD, it has withstood Incan renovation as well as Spanish conquering, resulting in addition to the World Heritage list centuries years later in 1983. Surprisingly, these ancient ruins remain 3,555 metres above sea level – even higher than Machu Picchu! So whilst you are chewing on coca leaves, take a minute to capture the 200-ton blocks of megalithic rocks; What appear to be sporadically placed, reaching some 15 feet in height and 1000 feet in length, they are actually crafted so finely you could not even slide a piece of paper between the bricks.
Not all Peruvian historical sites require you to battle altitudes and confront your inner hiking persona. Take a look at Chan Chan for example – A site located in La Libertad revealed to be the largest city of the pre-Columbian era, just 5km away from one of Peru’s most inhabited metropolitan areas, Trujillo. Aged Peruvian coastal culture fabricated these ruins as part of the Chimor empire. It gained its Incan correspondence later as a result of defeat by the Incas. Named after its permanently summery climate, ‘Sun Sun’, (Chan Chan) is a beautiful place to visit. As you saunter across this archaeological site in the warm, southern breeze, stop to indulge in the contrastive style of construction.
Nestled amongst the clamor of the Peruvian capital, Lima, you can find ancient ruins that have somehow been preserved for centuries despite incredible urbanization. One such site in Miraflores is the Huaca Pucllana. An absolutely astonishing sight during the day, but even better at night, this 1800 year old adobe pyramid is perhaps best known for the prestigious restaurant that shares its grounds. A great spot for travelers to adore the antiquity of their surroundings whilst luxuriating in classic Peruvian gastronomy.
Last, but certainly not least are the ancient ruins of Pachacamac, a 40 km journey south, outside of Lima. This vast archaeological complex covering nearly 500 hectares has a fascinating pre-Hispanic history that can be best discovered by visiting the modern onsite museum and taking a guided tour of the ruins.
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