The magnificent palaces, temples, plazas, and high truncated pyramid at the site give us a sense of the political, cultural, and religious hierarchy of ancient Pachacámac. In the pre-Inca and Inca periods, it was the most important oracle on the Peruvian coast; thousands of pilgrims travelled here from the farthest reaches of ancient Peru.
The god Pachacámac, indigenous to the central coast, survived the influence of the Incas and the Spanish. According to Inca mythology, he was the god of fire and the child of the sun, rejuvenator of the world; in short, the creator of the world and all the creatures that inhabit it.
The first settlements at the site date back to 200 B.C., but construction of the shrine began with the flourishing of the Lima civilisation (1300 A.D. to 1400 A.D.), with the Temple of Urpiwachak to the west of the site and the groups of Adobitos, large buildings that demonstrate mastery of complex architectural techniques.
400 years before the Incas established themselves, the Ichma civilisation erected the great Ceremonial Centre: roads, numerous temples with ramps, and the Painted Temple are examples of their religious town planning.
Upon arriving in the valley, the Incas adapted the pre-existing structures for their own administrative needs, desecrating the city and losing the oracle at the centre. They built the Temple of the Sun, the Acllahuasi, the Plaza of Pilgrims, and other palaces whose careful re-constructions allows us to imagine the site as it was 500 years ago.
Today, the shrine of Pachacámac is an archaeological complex that includes a site museum where visitors can browse artefacts from the Wari, Lima, Ichma, and Inca civilisations, most notably the Wooden Idol (Ídolo de Madera), which depicts Pachacámac.
Location: at km 31 km of the Panamericana Sur highway
Average temperature: 18°C (64°F), with a maximum of 27°C (81°F) and a minimum of 15°C (59°F)
Season: winter, from June to September, is the season of drizzle and fog.
Access by Land: approximately 45 minutes from Lima by car.