11th September 2010

Our final stop in Peru was Huaraz, 400 kilometres north of Lima.  Nestled below the 6000 meter snowy mountains of the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra, it is Peru´s adventure capital.


The pre Inca Chavín culture occupied this area from approximately 1000 to 500 BC.  Their biggest legacy, 109 kilometres from Huaraz, is Chavín de Huántar, a stone temple complex with cabezas clavas (keystones of projecting blocks in the shape of human heads with feline features).   It was completed in 800 BC.   In 1616 the Spanish monk Vasquez de Espinoza observed: “Junto a este pueblo …. Near this town of Chavín there lies a large edifice made of well carved stones of notable grandeur. It was a Huaca and the shrine of the most famous of the Pagans, like Rome or Jerusalem is to us, to which the native people came to make their offerings, because the devil in this place gave them many oracles, and thus they came from all over the kingdom. Beneath the ground are great halls and rooms.”


Snowy mountains surround Huaraz

Different town, different hat!

High altitude (4000 meters) lake

Model of how Chavín de Huántar would have looked

Outside walls

Main entrance

Llamas grazing near the ruins

These heads projected from the outside walls around the main building

Detail of rock carvings that adorned the circular plaza

Carved shell used as a trumpet