Located in the desert, about 3 hours from Lima, are the ancient ruins of Caral, the oldest city found in the Americas. Now you can find tours that leave from Lima that’ll take you to the ancient wonder and back to Lima all in one, long day. Here is everything you need to know about one of South America’s most remarkable ruins.
Why see them?
These ruins are the oldest ruins of the oldest civilization in all of South America. The site dates back 4000 and even 5000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. While they aren’t the easiest ruins to see—lying 3 to 4 hours from Lima in the desert—they are certainly one of the most remarkable. Walking through the site you’ll witness one of the world’s earliest example of city planning from a well put together tour and knowledgeable tour guide.
What is there to see?
Considering how old the ruins actually are, there is without a doubt a lot to see. What you’ll find at Caral are some of the world’s earliest urban designs, designs that influenced every civilization to follow in Peru. The site consists of six stone pyramids that were found next to large amphitheaters, ceremonial rooms, altars and many other adobe structures. You’ll be amazed walking the grounds by all of the sunken circular courts and platforms you come across. Despite how few visitors the site receives—it is around 3 to 4 hours from Lima—the site is arranged and looked-after quite well.
The people who once inhabited the city of Caral are renowned for their reputation as peaceful people of Peru. According to archeological evidence, the people of Caral lived a harmonious life, free of warfare. There has been no evidence of violence found at the site indicating such, including no traces of weapons or mutilated bodies. They did not try to conquer nations, nor did they use violence at home. Women within the society received near equal standing as men. As evidence suggest, many members of the society enjoyed pleasurable activities like public discussion and music.
At the site you’ll find a number of interesting artifacts unearthed by the archeologists, including ancient bone flutes and a quipus, which are knots spaced out on strings to indicate information, a method that was also used by the Incas. Another interesting item at the site is its large geoglyph. Among Peru’s many remarkable geoglyphs this one stands out. The design was carved into the earth and appears to resemble an old man with long hair gasping in fear. The same image has also been found in other locations in Peru.