Together with Machu Picchu, the fortress of Kuelap
(18th Century AD), beautiful, unknown, and shrouded in mystery and
legend, is the most monumental structure of the ancient Peruvians.
If the city-fortress were in Cusco, diffusion to the site would
be much better, but because it is located in an area that is distant
from mainstream tourism, it is rarely visited.
From its walls that are more than 20 meters (66 ft) tall, and at
a height of 3,000 meters (9,900ft) above sea level, the panoramic
view is unbeatable. Planted at the top of the valley of Utcubamba,
with a circular architecture and elegant patterns on the interior,
the construction required 40,000 square feet of materials. Walled-in
tunnels in the shape of downward funnels allow for entrance into
the compound. Three entrances allow you to enter the heart of Kuelap.
One of the passageways tightens to the point that only one person
can pass at a time, aiding in the defense of the ancient inhabitants
of the fortress. To the left of the passageway there are dwellings
in the shape of a semicircle in a perfectly preserved state. A couple
of meters further you will find El Tintero (a circular structure
with slanted walls). It is believed that ceremonies sacrificing
humans and animals took place here.
This area of the Amazon was influenced by the Chachapoya or Sachapuyo
culture, with a temperate and dry climate during the day, and temperatures
below zero (32° F) at night, which provokes an interesting contrast
in climate. Their construction of temples, fortresses, platforms,
vaults, tombs, ceramics, and cities stand as a testimony of this
civilization's great advancements and achievements. The Kuelap Fortress
represents a great legacy and stands as the best attraction for
You can also visit the nearby province of Luya, where the Chipuric
and Revach cultures developed side by side. The great cemeteries
in the area also represent a well-visited tourist attraction. In
1475, Chachapoyas became part of the Incan Empire, and were later
conquered by the Spanish. There is considerable vice regal influence
in the architecture of the city, especially in the urban areas.
Northeast of Perú.
When to go
How to get there
By car or bus
Located in Chachapoyas.