the native language, it means "cold place", because in
spite of being in the entrance of the Amazonas, it is the only place
where you cant support the low temperature. According to
archaeologist it is one of the South American pre-Hispanic
monumental cities. In the XVI century the priest Blas Valera said
that the region bares the name of Chachapoyas because of its
"Sacha" which means forest or woods and "phuyu",
Kuelap, the departure point is Chachapoyas, capital of the
district of Amazonas. This place possesses and historical
attraction because it was the last bastion of a supposed lost white
race, called the Chachapuyanos, that backed down before the Incan
invasion. Remains of high constructions of stone, landscape,
massive walls and high towers impress the traveler, with and
attraction that puts this enormous construction between thick fog at
the time of ascending it.
It has a population
of approximately 16 thousand inhabitants, it is characterized by
a climate that is warm during the day and cold at night, with rainy
periods between the months of December through April. The
average temperatures fluctuate between 35 and 26 degrees Celsius.
In the surroundings it is possible to visit numerous typical towns.
It inhabitants, most of them agriculturists, live happily with out
the problems that attaint the residents of a city like stress and
unconcerned by terms like globalization.
fortress (that is also named the "Babel Tower" of
Peru) it rises over the wooded valley of Utcubamba, it is one
of the most important archaeological monuments in the
continent. Its mystery has always attracted explorers and
It is an
archaeological assemblage with very important characteristics of the
Peruvian North East. Discovered in 1843 by Don Juan Crisostomo Nieto,
that was a Chachapoyas judge. From then on until now it has been
constantly visited by numerous investigators and travelers,
attracted by the complexity and monumental character of its
constructions, which have been the object of various reports among
them are: the intellectual Antonio Raimondi, the Swiss geologist Arturo
Werthemann, the French traveler Charles Wiener, the Swiss
anthropologist Adolph Bandelier, as well as other renown people that
arrived through these homesteads.
known as the "Lost fortress of Kuelap", it integrates all
of an archaeological deposit site that includes an extension of 450 hectares.
Within this assemblage you can see that it is comprised of
cultivation terraces, settlements, entrance controls, storehouses
and public plazas. Located in the small village with the same
name, with in the land of the Tingo district, Luya Province,
Amazonas Department, at the moment it belongs to the northeastern
region of Marañon. Its location is approximately 35 kilometers in the direction south of Chachapoyas.
You can access
the site after a journey walking some 8 kilometers, a brief stretch,
in which the traveler him or herself is forced to ascend in only 3
hours, some 1000 meters.
It is also
possible to access by a coach or carriage path that winds on the
left bank of the Tingo river, that after the crossing, allows 4
hours of journey to reach Marca-pampa, a small plain in the
proximities of the monument, although everything depends on the
conditions of the chosen tours.
attraction is not only archaeology, but also geography, because it
is located at 3 thousand meters above sea level in a zone with
beautiful landscapes that contrast the high Cordillera of the Andes
and the drawn back amazon jungle, a spectacle is created to recreate
archaeological place was constructed on the top of a rocky abutment
of calcareous lime origin establishing a hegemonic and strategic
position, with an ample and magnificent archeological criterion that
reveals knowledge and topographic dominion with respect to the rest
of the area.
character and complexity of these constructions are found
distributed in an area that forms an outstretched wing, with a north
south orientation of approximately some 584 meters long and an
average of 120 meters in width, in which is limited by a grand wall
that is enclosed within the perimeter. The assemblage can be
measured at some parts at more than 20 meters in height and in its
structural conformation there has been a large quantity of multiple
burials have been registered according to the archaeologist Orlando
Angulo, resident of the place.
preventing the access, the retaining wall helps the filling that was
place to obtain plain surfaces in the slopes of the hill with the
purpose of obtaining security and protection in case of attacks from
used in the buildings were sedimentary rock or limestone upright
blocks without polish. It has 3 entrances to the city through
the wall, giving an impression of conical tunnels, criterion in
which it was constructed, wide at the entrance and narrow in the
exits, permitting access to only one person.
is conformed by more than 450 distributed structures in diverse
levels, of which 4 are rectangular floors, 1 quadrangular floor and
the rest circular floors.
traveler can take into account that the integration of the ancient
Peruvian with nature is an astonishing lesson. The Chachapoyas,
whose secrets are safely kept in the density of the foliage.
They created harmony in a privileged place, a site with out time
where the mountain tops are kissed by the clouds. The housing that
was more common were circular bases, some had been reconstructed so
that the visitors, which are few, given that Kuelap is difficult to
access, they can get to know intuitively the life of the place, surrounded
by orchids and bromeliads.
with their own meaning
All of these
associated structures had determined functions for each other among
them being ceremonial, administrative, living and defense control.
Stones worked in high relief that are similar to human faces exist.
They are of
singular meaning and great attractions "El Tintero"
(ceremonial building), "El Castillo" (place where the
mausoleum exists), the fortified towers, the constructions decorated
with borders, among them the engravings of geometric,
anthropomorphous, zoomorphic and other forms highlight the place.
with circular floors (that average 7 meters in diameter), generally
housing, that present architectural characteristics in the older
construction that inhabit this part of Peru.
They are distributed in agglutinative form or surrounding open
patios. They present decorated autochthons that indicate the
lower level of the baths those that lead to its interior by direct
access that add other elements like ventilation ducts, drainage
systems and small internal chambers under the floor.
Some of the
walls that reach heights of 4 meters present vaulted niches
and windows, there is evidence that they were plastered and possibly
decorated with paint in the interior. By the form of the buildings
it understood that they had straw covered ceilings in conical form.
In front of
its walls that are 30 meters high and some 1200 meters in contour,
including an impenetrable abyss. You think of thousands of men
working the hill in semicircular form, cutting the stone blocks,
inserting them and joining them with a mixture that when it dries it
is harder than cement. Its people thought of its defense and made
its three entrances in an funnel form so that only one person could
pass through the entrance at a time.
lasts 3 to 4 hours walking with amazement and astonishment.
The extraordinary architects constructed two buildings with
rectangular floors and 335 in circular form in the "lower
town". Six buildings adorned with decorative borders
reveal there religious character. The majority of the guides
that cover the zone make travelers notice the zigzag decoration in
the form of a serpent and the diamonds that make the eye look
historical chronicles, the place was occupied until 1532, when Diego
Alvarado reduced the population to the lower parts.
The chronicles of Pedro Cieza de Leon manifest that: "
The Chachapoyas (that occupied these lands) were white Indians whose
handsomeness was sovereign worthy and whose eyes were blue, which
were as white as the Spanish".
One of the
most recurrent anecdotes, is listening to the denominated legend of
the adjacent hill, "La Barreta" (The small bar) in which
narrated that the young man of Kuelap loved the daughter of kuraka
in the neighboring town. She accepted to marry him if he fulfilled
two conditions. Transport water to them and cast a bar that would
unite the two towns. Her suitor accomplished transporting water from
a lagoon close by, but upon casting the bar it fell in the hill that
took its name.
From 1998, the
year that the archeological complex "Kuelap Fortress" was
declared an Intangible Archeological Zone and a cultural patrimony
of Peru, the tourism in the zone increased considerably, whereas
Government and cultural organization have tried to prevent the
entrance of international mining interested in exploiting there
lands. The next step is to obtain the nomination of Kuelap as
a Cultural Patrimony of Humanity on behalf of Unesco for the year
2004, in order to upgrade or maximize the zone as a touristic
element, at a level even greater than Macchu Picchu.
of the tourist agencies also offer tours to Lamud in conjunction
with visits to Kuelap. In this zone you can observe erect mud
coffins which are decorated with anthropomorphic embossment, that
represent catlike claws and human heads. The Chachapuyanos, after
placing the coffins in strategic places of the cliffs, destroyed the
paths that lead to them to avoid disturbing their dead. Also
you can visit the funeral buildings of Revash, the sarcophagus of
Karajia and the towns of Luya, Trita, Tingo, Talape, Levanto, La
Jalca, among others; that show the wonderful landscapes and the
kindness of there inhabitants.
In the Province
of Chachapoyas in addition it is worth the trouble to visit the
tunnels of San Antonio
( rock formations in the form of natural bridges located over the
river that bares the same name), Palmeras de Ocol Forest (district
of Molinopampa); in the town of Huancas you will find the cave
paintings of Pitaya; the archaeological zone of Yalape (with four hectares,
it is an archaeological complex of joined stones with mud mortar,
which pertained to the Chachapoyas and dates back to the years 1100
to 1300 a.C.); the natural bridge of Ashpachaca and the Coltin