Skip to content

Huaca Pucllana, ruins in the middle of Lima

A mountain of dirt and garbage in Lima, often used for BMX riding, hid centuries worth of ruins of the great pre-Inca civilizations. Now only guided tours are allowed on the ruins of Huaca Pullanca.


The ruins show how the Wari survived in the desert environment, creating irrigation systems to grow plants such like cotton, peanuts, quinoa and more.

Top: model of what this area may have looked like in Wari time. Bottom: uncovered walls and example plots of agriculture.

The brick framework they made for this building was made of mud. They think the Wari built up over the old structure every few years giving it more layers and a new start.

huaca3 (1)
Left: recreation of how bricks were made. Right: real footprints from excavation.
Based on the holes found in the flat areas, archeologists think they used wooden beams to support roofs.
Based on the holes found in the flat areas, archeologists think they used wooden beams to support roofs.

As we moved up from the brick-making areas, agriculture, and mercantile areas, we got to religious areas: tombs and ceremonial areas. Sometimes children were sacrificed, but all the bodies buried here were accompanied with items for them to take into the afterlife, often relating to their profession (weaver, fisherman, etc).


This site wasn’t just for the Wari, however. Once the Wari empire fell, other cultures could leave their mark, like the Huatca, Sulco, and Lati, who were known as the Ychsma. They partially restored Huaca Pucllana and used it as a cemetary and place for offerings. These costal people were extremely religious, in part because of the extreme conditions of nature. Below is a recreation of offerings: toads, coca leaves, maíz, cotton, and more.huanca-4

Not part of our tour, but an interesting area of discovery by the slightly hidden bathroom/gift shop area were the more recent tombs of Chinese immigrants. The sign below explains that similar tombs have been found in other archeological sites for Chinese agricultural workers. They likely used archeological sites because their religious beliefs differed from the Catholic majority of Peru.

These particular tombs were likely unfinished because no human remains were found inside.

Huaca Pucllana is still under excavation. In the meantime, there’s a restaurant on site for those who want to dine overlooking the beautiful brickwork and archeological site.

One Comment

  1. red red

    Now I know there were fantastic others before the great Inca.

Comments are closed.