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Kuelap Fortress

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 tourists.

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
Culture, archaeology
How to get there
By car or bus
Hiking, sightseeing
Located in Chachapoyas.
Kuelap Fortress

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Kuelap: The Other Machu Picchu



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