The Pachacamac Pilgrimage Center was built about 700 AD as a temple to the worship of the sun god Pachacamac. Later the Incas also used the site and added to it, not destroying any existing pyramids. It is a large archaeological site, so we rode around on our bus, getting off at each place for photos. Digs first started there in the early 1900's.
The size and desert-like conditions reminded me a little of the Valley of the Kings at Luxor. We toured the museum and saw a small totem pole (about 5 feet high), which was the symbol of Pachacamac. The most surprising things in the museum were several original woven textile tapestries, rugs, and belts. Since this part of Peru is one of the driest places on earth, the color was very well-preserved, even though the items were 500-600 years old.
The site has several buildings that had been excavated. The entire site was used almost like a convention city might be. Natives from all over the Americas would make the pilgrimage to "receive positive feelings" and bring gifts to Pachacamac. The representatives from each tribe (even as far away as Columbia and Central America) would all stay in different pyramids, venturing out to party together. They have found seeds, plants, and textiles that are not native to Peru, which is how they determined this was such an important pilgrimage site.
The Incas sacrificed a young woman once each year on the December solstice. The Incans were a very patriarchal society, and many young women (8 to 10 years old) were brought to Pachacamac and stayed in the Temple of the Moon or Mamacona. There, widow women would teach the young women how to take care of men and to sew, keep house, and perform other womanly duties. They were all dedicated to the sun god and made all sorts of things for the temple complex.
Each year, the head priest would select three young women to receive special training. At the end of the year, he selected the "best" one to be sacrificed to the sun god. The other two would become a wife or a concubine. Since the high priest was a eunuch, sex definitely did not play a role in his choice. Apparently, it was a high honor to go to the Temple of the Sun, the highest structure at Pachacamac, to be sacrificed. Men were never sacrificed, and women were never allowed in the Temple of the Sun except to be sacrificed. The views of the ocean and the breeze coming off the sea were wonderful. I'm sorry the women missed out on it, being stuck down in the hot desert.
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More on Silversea Silver Spirit Latin America Cruise - Valparaiso to Acapulco
- Embark in Valparaiso (port for Santiago)
- Days at Sea on the Silver Spirit
- At Anchor Off Mejillones, Chile
- Pisco, Peru - A Day at Tambo Colorado and Sumaqkay Peru
- Ancient Peoples of Peru - Incas and Other Tribes
- Lima, Peru - Tour of Old Town
- Lima, Peru - Magic Fountains and Dinner at Hacienda Diez-Canseco
- Pachacamac Pilgrimage Center near Lima
- Mamacona Hacienda near Lima and the Peruvian Pasos
- Manta, Ecuador - Home of the Panama Hat
- Puntarenas, Costa Rica - Rafting on the Corobici River
- Day at Sea and Tour of the Silver Spirit Galley
- Tour of Antigua, Guatemala from Puerto Quetzal
- Filadelphia Coffee Plantation - Shore Excursion from Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
- Disembark in Acapulco