Sunday, October 24, 2010

PACHACAMAC--Holding hands with the past

Twenty miles south of Lima, Peru,

along the Pan American Highway

are the ruins of the ancient city of Pachacamac.  
Built around 200 A.D. it is one of the largest pre-Inca sites in Peru.

The location contains several pyramids and was an important religious monument to the people of the central Andes.

Late in July of 2007, DH and I traveled with a group to view this ancient city.

The Pyramidal Sun Temple was built by the Ishmay culture around 1100 A.D.  The base is constructed of six large steps.  The temple was built on the top of these walls.  The pyramid is reached by a large ramp from the main square.

 There are several layers of different types of construction.  Some are large mud bricks in stacks;

 some are stones and with mortar and some are made of small adobe bricks.

 There were rooms and ramps and walls covering a large area on sand hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 

Following the expansion of the Inca Empire, Pachacamac became an important Inca administrative center, while maintaining its status as a religious shrine.  The Spanish conqueror, Francisco Pizarro, heard about Pachacamac from the Inca, while holding the Inca King Atahualpa prisoner at Cajamarca in 1532. He promptly sent an expedition to sack the city.   They destroyed sacred shrines and seized a large amount of silver and gold from the site.

 Spanish accounts indicate Pachacamac was one of the holiest place of worship in the central Andes. The site's name derives from the Quechua term for the coastal deity, Pacha Camac (he who vitalizes the universe).

DH and I discovered a hand print left in one of the ancient bricks.  I put my hand in the impression. 

 It was an exact fit.  

At one time this place received enough water and rain to support a huge population, but a shift in weather patterns left it so dry that it was abandoned.


On a side note:  Five days after we returned from this area -- August 15, 2007, it was hit by a magnitude 8 earthquake.  The epicenter was not far from this city built on sand.  Hundreds of people were buried in nearby towns in the rubble caused by the quake.

8 comments:

TALON said...

Thank you, Leenie. I loved this post and a glimpse into a part of the world I've never seen. And how eerie and neat that your handprint fit one that has been there for centuries...and how terribly tragic that the area suffered yet again with that recent quake. Those poor people! May those who perished rest in peace.

Elizabeth said...

what an adventurous trip!
we have friends in Lima but have never been there!
Well done, you!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Wonderful photographs and commentary - how I would love to go to South America - but the farmer prefers North America so that is where we go (he is paying after all.)

Flea said...

Oh my. I'm sorry to hear that a devastating earthquake happened. I remember hearing about it, but it wasn't personalized till now.

How on earth did that handprint happen?

DayPhoto said...

You have had the most wonderful trips, Leenie! Thank you for showing this to us.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Linda Sue said...

Your hand fitting - best part! and the fact that your five day timing was good. WHEW! Too close! The countryside is a whole lot of beige!

Mama Zen said...

Wow! What an amazing place to visit!

Anairam said...

Interesting post, Leenie! Although I am not religious I am always moved by signs and symbols of humans' desire to find meaning. Building a temple to some "divine being" so many years ago ... It must have felt amazing to put your hand into that impression - knowing that one of the builders did the same a thousand years ago.
PS I liked the Zen proverb in your previous post! So very true.