It takes over two hours to get to Kuelap. Most of the road is dirt, bumpy, and frighteningly narrow as it winds around the mountains. It felt like a Jules Vern Journey. Along the way our minivan shared the road with sheep, llamas, motobikes, and horses, most carrying burdens of wood, or goods to trade. Once I saw a child of 4 or 5 and his older sister, by a couple of years trying to coax an unwilling horse along the edge of the highway.
Kuelap is mind-boggling from anyone’s viewpoint. Looking at the massive stone wall, you can see why the dead were buried in it. It makes the perfect mausoleum. The round houses, had living space, kitchen, with large grinding stone, and small place to keep guinea pigs. The Chachapoyan architecture was only recognized in 1843! Roaming around on the site were llamas and horses probably owned by the folks who live on the mountain. El Tintero is the circular turret in the shape of an inverted cone, said to be a challange to the laws of gravity. It’s placed at the south end of the oval shaped fortress, and used for religious ceremonies, that, yes, involved some human sacrafice, but not as much apparently as the Incas who managed to subdue the Chachapoyan warriors about 800 years later! Dates Known by the Inca pottery.
Kuelap, a mountaintop fortress city, rivals any ruins in the new world and comes complete with living quarters for thousands of residents and a stone wall fortification reaching 60 feet high running in circumference to the city 110 meters in width.
Kuelap is considered the largest stone ruin site in the New World and is comprised of massive stone blocks nearly 10-times the volume of the blocks used in the Giza Pyramid. The fortress of Kuélap consists of massive exterior stone walls containing more than four hundred buildings. The structure, situated on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley
in northern Peru, is roughly 600 meters in length, 110 meters in width, and is thought to have been built to defend against the Huari or other hostile Peoples. Archaeological evidence shows that the structure was built around 500 AD and occupied until the mid 1500s (Early Colonial period). (when the Spaniards showed up.)
Truly fascinating and important history. There are many articles on it inc. one from Nat Geo you can google.