Puno is mostly about Lake Titicaca for many travelers, but what they don’t know is that there are several pre-Columbian attractions and other natural wonders worth visiting. The small town of Pukara holds an ancient settlement from an important civilization of the Andean highlands.
The Pucara culture developed between the years 1,400 and 550 B.C. This ancient civilization is characterized by their impressive sculptures and pottery art, as well as for influencing following societies.
The archeological site is one of the most significant of the region since it gives us a glimpse at the beliefs and organization of the Pucara people. They certainly marked the beginning of an era, leaving a legacy behind that evolved overtime with the succeeding cultures.
The Pukara Archaeological Site was declared a National Heritage Site in 2001 to raise awareness to the preservation of the place and the importance it had in our pre-hispanic history.
The site is composed of two parts, one potentially dedicated to religious purposes and other that may have served as a residential area. If you’d like to know more about this impressive pre-Inca settlement, here we’ll tell you everything about it!
As we mentioned before, the Pukara culture originated between the 1400 and 550 B.C. They developed a distinctive sculpture and pottery style that distinguished from the rest but also influenced the artistic expression of the succeeding civilizations.
It originated at the outskirts of Lake Titicaca and had a significant impact on the mountain region of the Andes, the Cusco valleys and even Tiahuanaco in Bolivia. The culture was also recognized for mastering an incredible control over the natural environment.
They managed a great agricultural system at the shores of the lake and also domesticated llamas to extract wool for their textiles that are believed to have played an important role in the urban economical practice.
The Pukara Archeological Site was their religious, administrative and residencial center. The site is composed of several structures built with stones joined with clay mortar.
The strategic position of this settlement allowed them to control the prosperous lands around the lake, but also the occidental zone of the Andean highlands. This ancient structure was built around 200 A.C. it has an extension of 4km2 and is located 106 kilometers away from the Folkloric Capital of Peru.
As we mentioned before, the site is composed of two areas, one with monumental characteristics intended for ceremonial purposes and another with rudimentary residential structures.
The ceremonial area is the most visually striking of the site since it’s composed of nine truncated pyramids, being the Kalasaya pyramid the most significant of the complex. Kalasaya is composed of several overlapping terraces with walls engraved with figures of deities such as "the Cutthroat" or lightning.
The famous structure also has three structures on its top, each with a horseshoe shape with an open area facing the east. There are also funerary constructions where human remains were found along with gold and copper jewelry.
During the excavations onsite, some archeological artifacts were recovered. These monoliths and lithic sculptures were traced back to the Pukara culture and are exhibited in this small museum.
There are several monoliths that depict animal figures such as cougars, frogs and others. You can also get to know their famous pottery art, where vessels, huacos, plates, keros and jars have been preserved and showcased in these galleries.
Address: Jr. Lima s/n, Pukara, Puno.
General Entrance Fee: S/. 5.50.
As we mentioned before, the pre-columbian ruins are located within the region of Puno, a few kilometers away from the city. We highly recommend visiting these ruins with a professional tour guide since there’s a lot of history and mysteries involved in this location that you surely don’t want to miss.
Our Ruta del Sol Tour takes you through the most visually striking natural scenery of Puno on the way to Cusco, but also makes a few stops on the way to visit this and other famous archeological sites.
If you’re eager to know more about our history, include this excursion in your trip itinerary and start exploring Peru like a local expert! Contact our travel specialists for more information.
Would you like to know more about Peru? Here you’ll find all the information you need for your trip. Our local expert team has prepared the most complete informative guides for you! Also, if you’re eager to know Peru at its fullest, check our travel packages and live an authentic experience with Viagens Machu Picchu.