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Chavin - Just a Pile of Old Rocks

sunny 23 °C

After two full days in Huaraz we can say with confidence that, following 45 years of reconstruction since the Great Earthquake, only two buildings have been properly finished. One is our boutique hotel and the other is an all-glass hostelry in the city centre which is closed for business. The rest of the city looks pretty much like this…
However, we didn’t fly all the way over the Andes from Lima just to see Huaraz. And we didn’t drive for a further three hours on mountain roads through passes above 13,000 feet just to get some breathtaking views of the Cordilleras Blancas, (some of the world’s most spectacular and highest mountains)…
In truth, we came all this way to Northern Peru to look at a pile of old rocks…
But these are not just any old rocks. These rocks are in the same vein as the venerated stones at Stonehenge; or the sandstone blocks that formed the Pyramids; or the granite slabs used to build Borobudor and Angkor Wat. Because, beneath the grassy mounds that lie in an ancient valley in the foothills of the Cordilleras Blancas, an entire city was built more than three thousand years ago by the Chavin people – a pre-Columbian indigenous race who pre-dated the Incas by some two and half thousand years. This is the base of one of their pyramids…
If the ruins at Chavin de Hauntar were more extensively excavated, and more easily accessed, we wouldn’t have been alone as we wandered from building to building marvelling at the ingenuity of the people who built this place more than a thousand years BCE…
These are some of the many underground storage rooms…
And this is Sheila squeezing through one of the many passages...
This is the centrepiece of the archaeological site at Chavin…
It is an enormous 3,000 year old carved stone stela that is concealed deep underground and only accessible through the narrow labyrinthine passages that were designed to keep all but the most privileged from viewing its magical symbols…
Many of the carved stones and religious symbols have been stolen, defaced or destroyed, in the three millennia since Chavin was constructed, but this head with feline features survived and shows that the original occupants believed that they could become cats by taking certain hallucinogenic drugs, (a similar belief held by many hippies in the 60s).

Chavin de Hauntar is not the only significant pre-Inca site in the shadow of the great white mountains and next time on Blissful Adventures we will take you to visit some more piles of old rocks…sorry, we meant, amazing architectural ruins.

Posted by Hawkson 16:00 Archived in Peru

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you are right, these are amazing rocks. Sheila look very hot (as always)

by Keith and Helen

Glorious. Braver than I am. Narrow underground spaces are not my thing but I am so thankful you two are able to do it. Such wonders and the mountains..................

by Sue Fitzwilson

Amazing masonry. That one corner of the wall as sharp as modern brickwork. Not sure about the roof over the passage Sheila just walked through. Nasty crack overhead. And where are the tourists? The place looks deserted.

by R and B

Did you have any strange dreams as you were travelling through these ancient sites?

by The Vickerage

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