Home Archives Chachapoyas of Peru • City of Chachapoyas • 2 • To See & Do

Chachapoyas of Peru • City of Chachapoyas • 2 • To See & Do

by mythic44

Karajia – anthropormorphic sarcophagi built on a narrow cliff ledge. Tours (~S/.60) combine this with a trip to Pueblo de los Muertos (Town of the Dead), another site with several different types of sarcophagi built on cliff sides, along with houses. The walk here is a couple of kilometres but quite steep. If it’s raining then the Pueblo is inaccessible and Quiocta Cavern is used as an alternative.

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Revash Tombs – Near the town of Santo Tomas de Quillay, there is a group of burial buildings in the cliff of the mountains. These are 1 or 2 floor rectangular-shaped funerary “chullpas” with double-slanted roofs, located in a place called Ingenio. They are built on inaccessible cliffs, in caves excavated in the rocky walls of out-jutting rocks and imposing precipices, and their walls are built with stones and gravel united by clayish mud cement, with red ocre colored animal shapes, and they have no front door access. Revash’s mausoleum were collective sepultures, as show the residues of bones they still contain and it is estimated that their construction dates back between 1100 and 1300 a.D., and belongs to the Chachapoya culture.

Mummy Museum of Leymebamba – houses and cares for 219 mummies and thousands of artifacts recovered from cliff tombs in 1997.  The museum displays mummies recovered from the remote Lake of the Condors, describes the extraordinary embalming methods of the Chachapoya, their lifestyle and culture. The Museum also houses a collection of knotted Quipu, the record-keeping device of the Incas. Inaugurated in June 2000, has three exhibition halls, with archaeological objects, that shelter the material recuperated from the area of The Condors´ Lagoon, which consists of more than 200 mummies and archaeological pieces, such as decorated gourds, ceramics, bamboo recipients, woven bags, ear pendants, wooden combs, cotton capes, khipus and others. In the second hall, an ethnographic exhibition was implemented, in which are presented the different expressions of the way of life of the human societies that, presently live on the ancient Chachapoyas´ territory, and the third hall is destined to promote scientific and cultural diffusion activities.

Sarcophaguses Of The Condors´ Lagoon – Located on the high rocks over The Condor´s Lagoon´s shores, in the District of Leymebamba, these mausoleum might have belonged to the high chiefs and caciques of the Chachapoya culture which was dominated by the Incas who even instored their chieftainship (Apu Chuillaxa, first Incan Chief; 1475 -1490), in the village of Leymebamba. The place is of fascinating beauty, due to the lagoon and the mausoleum’s mystery, as well as because of the typical gastronomy based on trout and delicious curd.In 1996 a group of farmers found a group of six chullpas (burial buildings) located on a ledge 100 meters above the peaceful Lake of the Condors. This is a cloud forest area in the Peruvian Andes, 10/12 hours from Leymebamba town. On the chullpas, there were more than 200 mummies that belong to the ancient Chachapoyas. The discovery is giving valuable information to the archaeologist and scientifics to know more about this amazing culture who was conquered by the Incas. Moreover embalmed inca mumies have been found in the chullpas. Now the mummies are at Centro Mallqui-The Bioanthropology Foundation Peru, institution dedicated to archaeological and anthropological research of Peru’s ancient cultures.

Sarcophaguses Of Chipuric – It is a funerary complex of the Chachapoya culture, from the late intermediate period (900 a.D -1450 a.D.), associated to the Chipuric style which, along with that of Revash, constitutes one of the main funerary complexes of that culture. Funerary statues stand out that were deposited on hardly accessible cliffs and made in the following manner: In the statue´s center, there is the body wrapped in an animal´s skin or cotton blankets and placed in a net of ropes. This funerary bundle is covered with a thick coat of clay and pebble stones sustained inside it, by a cone-shaped frame made with four sticks united above the defunct´s head. Thus, the “package” has a conic or cilyndrical shape, and the height of the bundles is of 1.30 to 1.60 meters.

Sarcophagi of Karajia – Karajia funerary site must be one of the most remarkable tombs you will ever come across with wooden-clay coffins still in their original location, set into an impressive cliff face. Mummies wrapped in cloth were placed inside. The coffins were constructed of stone, wooden poles and slapped with clay. The statues are shaped like humans with a huge head. Perched up in the cliff overlooking Utucubamba river, there used to be more than 20 such coffins. While seemingly impossible to reach, grave-robbers still managed to rappel down and make off with the coffins. These few remaining ones are ‘protected’ by the villagers. Few tourists to have make it to this part of Peru, it is much less accessible than others. The drive is 2.5 hours long, through very windy and treacherous mountainous road, full of pot-holes and if it had been raining, muddy and wet. From Cochane, you have to go on foot for another 2.5 hours through undulating hills and tranquil farms.Karajía’s Sarcophaguses date back between 1100 and 1300 A.D. they belong to the Chachapoya culture and are inside the Archaeological Complex of Chipuric. These are pre-Incan tombs erected at the top of a precipice, which are 2 meters high and are shaped in mud and decorated with geometric designs. Thus, they are an original form of burials, as they are located on cliffs and appear in groups of 4 to 8, laterally united and reclined, with their backs against the cave´s rock. It is interesting to note that the sarcophaguses are composed of two parts: The head and bust carved in mud and decorated with geometric designs. These sarcophaguses are also called “Purumachos”.

Gran Vilaya – a popular trekking route through cloud forest.

Tajopampa – cliff tomb sites.

Levanto, (The nearest ruins to Chachapoyas, 2 hours by vehicle). Perhaps the best unrestored major Inca 3000km road passes through here and the section from Levanto to Chachapoyas is a spectacular 3 to 4 downhill walk. It starts at an restored Inca Military Garrison that guards this major intersection. A side path will take you up to Yelape, the 2nd largest fortress after Kuelap, with many more buildings. Levanto has a church started in 1558ad by the Conquestadores, with a high gold plated altar. The village has a modern lodge built to look just like an ancient Cloud Forest building, and this same team also built the restored house in Kuelap and the Military Garrison. Levanto was the last and largest Chachapoyan city conquered by the Incas, and later the Spanish capitol until it was moved to a warmer elevation of Levanto’s annex of Chachapoyas.

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The Chachapoyas of Peru   •   Locations & Activities

City of Chachapoyas


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