After about a three hour mountainous drive we arrived at the archeological site Kuelap. Walking the first part of the 2.5 km path required me to proceed very slowly as the altitude of just over 9000 feet was a bit lacking in oxygen! A moment’s rest afforded me this photo op.
Kuelap was a Chachapoyas village from about 500 to 1700 AD and then was taken over by the Incas. The Chachapoyans built and lived in circular houses which were naturally fortified to more readily withstand earthquakes. If they did collapse the debris would fall inwards.
There were three entrances. The first was was built to keep out invaders. The further it penetrated the community the narrower it became until only one person would fit. When word came the Incas were arriving the residents filled the entrances with stones and then exited out the back down a sheer cliff.
There were lookout towers not only on site but on neighboring mountain tops. Messages were relayed using colors or smoke signals.
When people died they were put somewhere to decompose and then the bones were buried within the walls of their house.
Many of the designs are reflected in local architecture. One is the eye of the puma.
There were thousands of bromeliads!