Since we left the USA to drive down the the tip of South America, we’ve learned about many, many pre-European, indigenous civilizations. We’ve seen so many amazing ruins that prove without a doubt that before the Spaniards arrived, there were thriving cultures in the Americas. Here is a quick recap of our top ruin visits to date:
Next on our list was to visit Kuelap, a pre-Inca ruin in the very remote mountains of Northern Peru. Here lived the Chachapoyas people, which, when translated in Chachapoya, means “the cloud people.” And they truly lived up in the clouds….
These people built a mighty fortress on the top of a mountain where over 2500 people lived.
Because of the strength of this fortress and the will of the people who built it, the Inca and the Spanish had a very hard time ever truly conquering the Chachapoyas. There were only five doors into the fortress and they were all ingeniously designed to be very narrow. This forced would-be attackers into single file lines making them easy to pick-off as they intruded the village.
Within the walls of Quelap, the families lived in round huts with only one window and a ledged roof, each respectively designed to retain heat and collect rainwater. They were ‘green’ long before ‘going green’ was cool.
Here you can see an intact window from a home…
The construction of Kuelap is pretty amazing. Families from all of the neighboring tribes handmade adobe bricks and then carried them to the mountaintop to collectively create the community.
Spooky misty mystical mountains…
Sadly, there isn’t a lot of knowledge about the pre-Incan Chachapoya culture since 1) they left no written record, 2) when the Incas conquered them, they did their best to force the people to conform to the Inca culture, and 3) when the Spaniards conquered them, they burned all but the stone straight to the ground and killed everyone who chose not to be baptized and serve Spain.
On a lighter note…
Next up, we go to visit the 3rd highest waterfall in the world..Cascadas Gocta!!!