900 years older than the Machu Picchu !

Kuelap – Fortified city or Fortress ?

The fortified city of Kuelap has been re-discovered en 1843. Since then, it was named Cultural Heritage of the Nation. This exceptional archeological site is situated at an altitude of 3,000 m on top of a mountainside. It covers an area of 7 hectares. The city is surrounded by 20m-high walls and inside, you will find more than 400 round houses. At that time, the Chachapoya built their houses in a round shape with a thatched roof. Scientists have for a long time thought that Kuelap was a Fortress. Nevertheless,  they have found out that the religious aspect was even more important. This is why today we say Fortified City. Make sure you will visit Kuelap during your trip to Northern Peru !

Ruins of round houses in Kuelap.

A little bit of History !

The construction dates of the fortified city of Kuelap by the Chachapoya is estimated between 500 and 800 after JC. Therefore it is between 600 and 900 years older than the Machu Picchu, built by the Incas. The Chachapoya – also called the Warriors of the Clouds – ruled on the territory of today’s region of Amazonas in Northern Peru and traded with other cultures such as the Chimu on the Northern coast.

A few interesting facts about Kuelap

The walls around Kuelap represent a volume of stones of more than 708,000 m3. This is about three times the volume of the Pyramides of Keops in Egypt.

The architects of Kuelap were working with hundreds of specialists, of stonecutters, masons and porters of water, stones and mud. Moreover, there were many different farmers on site whose only work was to produce corn, potatoes and vegetables for the workers.

At its peak, the fortified city of Kuelap had up to 3,000 inhabitants. Up to today we don’t really know how the Chachapoya could transport the water up hill for all these people.

The mural decorations represent the eyes of felines, snakes or birds. Maybe they were gods of the Chachapoyan culture.

   Mural decoration in Kuelap

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