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Top ancient treasures in Peru
Peru is bursting with archaeological sites and sacred cities scattered across the country. Home to the largest, the oldest and most iconic pre-Colombian ruins on the continent; Peru is one of the best places to explore a wealth of Ancient civilisations. Here at Imagine Latin America, we have put together the most significant and interesting sites in Peru to start you off on your archaeological adventure!
1. Machu Picchu
Discovered by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911 this lost city is undoubtedly one of the world’s most awe-inspiring sights. It is the most iconic archaeological site on the continent and as a result, it has been honoured as being one of the New 7 Wonders of the world.. Its sole purpose still remains a mystery today, thought to be a ceremonial site, a military stronghold or royal kingdom, its complex of palaces, plazas, temples and homes are well-preserved and largely intact. Created entirely from cut stone fitted together without the use of mortar or the creation of wheels, it’s an ancient architecture masterpiece, and exploring the grounds is a remarkable experience.
Revered as the ‘Machu Picchu of the North’, this hidden gem is a monumental fortress located just outside of Chachapoyas, in the north of Peru. Largely unexplored, Kuelap is the largest stone structure in South America and contains over 450 remarkably preserved stone edifices enclosed by a 70-foot-tall stone wall. Perched high on a mountain top, Kuelap is surrounded by cloud forest home to exotic birds, blooming orchids and floating mist.
3. Chan Chan
Located just outside of the city Trujillo in the north of Peru, Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu Empire before it was invaded by the Incas in the 15th century. Covering an area of 20km and made up of an array of impressive pyramid-shaped temples, palaces and plazas, it is the largest pre-Colombian city in South America and the largest adobe city in the world. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring this enormous archaeological complex and it hierarchy system is a fascinating experience.
4. Nasca Lines
Valued as one of the most mystifying monuments in the world, the Nasca Lines have baffled people for over 1,500 years. Hundreds of ancient lines and geoglyphs remain etched into the surface of the desert pampa sand and form perfectly straight triangles, swirls, and animal shapes including the hummingbird, condor and monkey. Taking a stomach-churning flight over these ancient lines, offers spectacular views of this landmark, only visible from air.
5. Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park
Located north of Cusco city, the ancient fortress of Sasayhuamán, forms an impressive complex of different sites, where an array of magnificent towering structures intertwines with the natural landscape. Like Machu Picchu, Sasayhuamán has been created entirely from massive stone structures fitted together, and display an excellent example of Incan heritage and mystery.
If you want to uncover Peru’s ancient past, then why not look at the below itineraries and start planning your trip to Peru today:
Ancient Cultures of Peru
Immerse yourself in the richness of Peru's extensive and mysterious past as you explore a wealth of ancient civilizations, who left behind a fascinating spread of archaeological and cultural sites throughout Peru.
A breath-taking itinerary that takes you to some of the most fascinating areas of Peru. Rich in ancient culture, spectacular landscapes, and soaked in history- this itinerary really allows you to get under the surface of Peru's highlights.
This all-encompassing itinerary combines the best of Peru. Discover lush dramatic landscapes, ancient cultures, and an array of incredible wildlife, all whilst staying in boutique and characterful accommodation.