Leymebamba is situated about 2h15 by car from Chachapoyas. The road follows the Utcubamba river most of the time. Sometimes you are even at the same level with the river, it’s just impressive.
As you are less high in altitude as in Chachapoyas, around 1,800 m, it is warmer. The vegetation is luxurious and the rock formations make you believe you are at the time of the Chachapoya culture. On the road, you will pass an outpost of Kuelap – Macro – which is nearly invisible, hidden in the mountains. From there, the warriors living in the outpost could give signs to the inhabitants of Kuelap, in case of invasion.
On your journey, you also pass little villages with white houses. Maybe you will be lucky and pass the village of Hierba Buena on its market day. You wouldn’t miss it : all people from around come to the market by horse. So instead of having a lot of cars, you will pass columns of parked horses. The market is in the center of the village. It represents the main source of buying and selling for the people living in this region.
From Leymebamba to the Museum, it is just a 10-minute drive. The place is really nice with orchids, sculptures and a house with a thatched roof.
The biggest part of the pieces exposed in the museum cover the Chachapoya period as well as the period when the Inca dominated the region. Moreover, the museum has a unique Quipus exposition – the famous cords with their knots that the Incas used for mathematics, but also to tell stories – in an exceptional state of preservation.
Inside, you will also learn all about the story of the museum.
In 1997, at the Laguna of the Condors – 40 km away from Leymebamba – 219 mummies had been discovered. The Museum of Leymebamba was built in order to have a suitable place for the conservation and preservation of those archeological discoveries.
This work was realised by the Centro Mallqui with the financial support of the international community, mainly Austria, Finland, Italy and the United States. The Institut for Bio-Archeology, the Von Hagen family and the Discovery Channel helped a lot too.
The village of Leymebamba helped with construction work and construction material. Today, the village is the owner of the Museum and has created its association. The administrative and professional part is done by the Centre Mallqui.
The museum was finally inaugurated in Juin 2000 in presence of the Education Minister of Austria, Doctor Elisabeth Gehrer.