Among the many tourist attractions in Lima, perhaps the most impressive and memorable is La Huaca Pucllana. It is a 1,500-year-old pyramid located right in the middle of Lima’s bustling Miraflores district, showcasing the rich, diverse history of the region. But you may be wondering: who built the Huaca Pucllana?
It’s a fascinating history that takes you from today (barely a year after the site was designated a National Cultural Heritage Site by Peru’s Ministry of Culture) all the way back to the era of the Lima culture, which inhabited modern-day Lima from around 200 to 700 AD.
Who Built the Huaca Pucllana?
The Huaca Pucllana was built by the Lima culture, which inhabited central Peru between 200 and 700 AD, nestled between the Moche culture to the north and the Nazca culture to the south. They built the seven-tiered pyramid and surrounding complex with clay and adobe bricks, probably in the fifth century (the exact year of its construction is unknown).
Most archaeologists believe that the pyramid had various ceremonial uses, including ritual sacrifice of young women. Some archaeologists and historians postulate that it may have had an additional use as an administrative center — a sort of precursor to a city hall or government building.
However, the site’s history is not limited to the Lima culture. The Wari culture, which cropped up around 500 AD, is known to have had enormous culture and social influence on the Lima culture, as evidenced by archaeological findings at the Huaca Pucllana.
The Wari culture were known for using preexisting structures and ruins as funerary sites, and the Huaca Pucllana at some point became an a burial site for the elite class of the Wari. Parts of the pyramid and complex were destroyed or modified to make this change.
A tomb in the Huaca Pucllana was discovered in 2005 during excavation, and it contained Wari textiles — the first conclusive proof that the Wari inhabited the central coast of Peru, far beyond their original locus in the mountains near the modern-day city of Ayacucho.
The Huaca Pucllana Today
Today, the site is a top attraction for tourists and Peruvians alike, offering a large slice of history right in the center of Lima’s radiant modernity. Visitors pay a small entrance fee of 15 soles (~$4.50) and get access to the Huaca Pucllana museum and the ruins themselves. In 2014 alone, the site saw more than 90,000 visitors!
The Huaca Pucllana Restaurant
The site’s popularity is bolstered by the Huaca Pucllana restaurant, located adjacent to the pyramid, which is critically acclaimed for its culinary prowess. Serving up high-quality Peruvian fare, the restaurant is one of Lima’s best, and the view of ancient ruins during the meal isn’t bad, either.
Visiting the Huaca Pucllana
If you’re interested in seeing the timeless wonder of the Huaca Pucllana (not to mention Lima’s countless other attractions), we offer a one-day private tour of Lima that includes a stop at the 1,500-year-old complex. The package also includes a walking tour of Lima’s colonial district and a visit to the Larco Museum and its collection of historic (and lewd) ceramics. Private Tour Guide in Lima
Or fill out this form to let us know you’re interested booking a Lima City Tour that includes a visit to the Huaca Pucllana archaeology complex or a meal at the Huaca Pucllana restaurant.