CHAVÍN DE HUÁNTAR – MUSEUM & TEMPLE
Huaraz • Catac • Lake Querococha • Barranco del Conde • Túnel Cauish • Zona de Conchucos • Tambillos • Shirapata • Hirca • Machac • Querkos • Ruins of Chavín de Huántar
Chavín de Huántar is an archaeological site of the pre-Inca Chavin culture of around 900 b.c.. It contains ruins and other artifacts. The site is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The access point for trips to Chavín de Huántar is Huaraz, 3 hours away. Most travelers choose to opt for the easiest option and go with one of the many groups of tourists that offer an itinerary of Chavín, but it is quite easy to get there. Bus and ruin is within walking distance within the city. Now, the road is paved most of the road and the view on the road is spectacular.
It is located in the district of Chavín de Huantar (3,177 masl), Huari province, 109 kilometers from Huaraz, the regional capital. The trip is made on a paved road, observing a series of snowfalls along the way and the attractive Querococha lagoon.
The complex covers an area of 14 hectares highlighting in its construction a temple or main building as a truncated pyramid with huge blocks of polished stone and underground passageways, pyramidal enclosures, temples and sunken squares, also lithic sculptures in high and low relief, artistically mysterious, in the most impressive archaeological complex in the Ancash region, which according to research, would have been erected by the men of the pre-Inca culture of Chavín, back in 1.200 b.Chr.
In the times of splendor of this town, considered one of the cornerstones in the Andean development, large and lavish religious ceremonies were performed on the stone structures. Thousands of people watched with anointing, perhaps even with fear, those priests who had the quality of disappearing from one place and appearing in another in a matter of seconds.
For historians and those who are interested in culture, Chavín de Huantar is definitely a must on the program. The Chavín culture certainly had a significant influence on the following cultures and peoples. The ceramics of the Chavín have typical big cats as jaguar for example. Exactly this kind of motifs we could even discover during our visits to the temples and huacas of the later Moche culture (in and around Trujillo). The ruins of the walls are mostly adorned with snakes and condors, which are very similar to those of the cloud warriors around Chachapoyas (for example in the fortress of Kuelap) or the Inca walls in and around Cusco.
The ruins of Chavín de Huántar are the core of the former Chavín culture. For many archaeologists Chavín is one of the origins of South American cultures, although of course there are enough other signs about older cultures in Perú. Chavín was built by archaeologists in the period between 1,000 b.Chr. until 200 b.Chr.. The buildings are among the oldest stone-built buildings in the andes region. But what Chavín actually was is still unexplored till today.
The pyramid-like multi-platform temple in the ancient city served to carry out extensive sacred rituals and offerings, which are suggested by artefacts from the excavations. Here the shamanic priests drew their powers. Even the inhabitants of Chavín are still convinced that the tour of the ruins gives them magical powers. The central core of the complex is formed by the buildings built around a square, in whose courtyards the sacral monuments and also inside an “El Lanzón” obelisk are hidden.
Inside the buildings are underground passages and canals that connect the buildings with each other. If you descend on ladders in the public walkways of the labyrinth, you can see the ventilation of the entire system via horizontal ventilation channels. There is a steady movement of air throughout the course of the corridors.
Inside the underground facility is the approximately 4.50 m high monolith, which has the shape of a knife. The corridors are now lightly lit and one is accompanied by one of the guards almost everywhere. The inner chamber with the monolith is protected by glass. An image of it can be found in the museum and you can admire the petroglyphs, which also have hands and feet with claws. The face is similar in essential features to a predator that has a large number of snakes between its teeth. The area around the Lanzón, according to speculations of the archaeologists was used as a sacrificial site for various ceremonial purposes. This theory is underpinned by the shape (cats of prey and snakes) of the many finds. Many similar finds were also found in the subsequent Moche culture.
As one of the most important ruins of the peruvian culture, UNESCO declared this site a World Heritage Site in 1985.
The Chavín Museum
The visit of the museum in Chavín, besides some exhibits from the excavations at the temples and fortress (the exact meaning is still not very clear), you can also learn about the history of Chavín. There are next to the Cabezas Clavas (stone heads), decorated with petroglyphs granite ashlar and handcrafted ceramics. From the Chavín culture is known that the inhabitants dealt with the textile and ceramic production. Some of the stone crescents exhibited in the museum are also decorated with condor wings and snake symbols. Similar symbols later used the Chachapoyas (fortress Kuelap) and also the Incas later. The stone heads were originally attached to the outer walls of the ruins and only one remains today in its original place.