Lima's sacred, pre-Inca 'huacas' fall prey to growth

  • Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"

    Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"

    Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"

    Every year, two rival parishes on the northern Greek island of Chios fire handmade rockets at each other's bell towers to celebrate Orthodox Easter. (April 19) …

  • Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster

    Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster

    Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster

    The captain of the Sewol Ferry was arrested on Saturday under charges of negligence and abandoning passengers when the ship started to sink. Two other crew members were also arrested. (April 19) …

  • AP Top Stories April 19 P

    AP Top Stories April 19 P

    AP Top Stories April 19 P

    Here's the latest news for Saturday, April 19th: Captain arrested in South Korea ferry disaster; 13th body recovered from Mount Everest avalanche; French journalists freed from Syria; 19th anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing. …

On a street corner, under a garbage dump, at a construction site -- pre-Inca archeological sites abound in Lima, where the ruins of hundreds of sacred places, or "huacas", are at the mercy of urban growth and public indifference.

In the middle of the Miraflores residential district, one of Lima's best restaurants opens onto the terrace of an ancient pyramid, offering fine food in a 1,500 year-old setting bathed in artificial lighting.

The Huaca Pucllana, the city's archeological star, has been impeccably preserved thanks to a partnership with the restaurant, but the rare public-private initiative is an exception to the rule.

About three kilometers (two miles) away, in the densely populated Chorrillos neighborhood, a sign marks the existence of an "intangible archeological zone". Its base is heaped with garbage. A small Catholic shrine sits in the middle of the huaca, built "thanks to the patronage" of the local mayor, as another sign says.

There is no registry that keeps track of the huacas -- which comes from the Quechua word "wak'a" meaning sacred place -- but archeologists say more than 300 of the adobe structures are spread around this city of nine million people.

"Most huacas are officially the cultural patrimony of the nation, but the area around them that cannot be touched is not delineated," bemoans Cristian Vizconde, an archeologist who heads a project at the biggest site in northern Peru.

"This omission allows developers and squatters to invade them, or mayors to build parks and playing fields on them," he said.

And where huacas have not been designated as cultural patrimony, "they have virtually disappeared," he said.

In a way, there is nothing new here: Lima is expanding along with its booming economy, paving over the city's ancient foundations with non-stop construction, just as it always has.

Archeologist Elias Mujica recalls that the presidential palace on the Plaza de Armas -- or its predecessor built by Francisco Pizarro after founding Lima in 1535 -- was erected on top of the Taulichusco palace, the seat of the city's government in pre-Columbian times.

The colonial city hall built in 1549 is on another sacred site, the Cabildo huaca, and a temple dedicated to the god Puma Inti once stood where the cathedral is today.

The remaining huacas "for the most part are not protected, which is why they have been invaded by families without homes, or turned into dumps or refuges for delinquents," said Luis Caceres, director of archeology at the Culture Ministry.

There are notable exceptions like Pucllana or the Huallamarca huaca, a vast second century pyramid that today is enclosed by a park and museum. But most of Lima's huacas face an uncertain future due to a lack of money for conservation projects, said Caceres.

"The state cannot be responsible for everything. We think we have to work more closely with the local population" to preserve the huacas, said Jorge Silva, an archeologist at the University of San Marcos.

An effort launched in 2010 to make a tourist attraction of 10 of Lima's huacas has failed so far to take off. For now, a "save a huaca" campaign that seeks to enlist private sector support for threatened sites offers the best hope for their preservation.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily entertainment updates.

Loading...
  • Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular
    Hana Ahmad - Tupai
    Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular 10 hours ago
    Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular

    Dunia muzik tahun 1990-an dipenuhi dengan kumpulan pop lelaki dan wanita seperti Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Hanson, Boyzone dan banyak lagi! …

  • Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa
    Azizah Saleh - Tupai
    Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa 10 hours ago
    Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa

    Pengarah serta penerbit berbakat, Hans bakal mengarahkan filem berbahasa Inggeris. …

  • Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood
    Syahida Kamarudin - Tupai
    Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:16 AM MYT
    Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood

    Para pelakon Korea Selatan yang berjaya menempa nama dalam industri filem Hollywood. …

  • Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage'
    Cover Media
    Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage' Sat, Apr 19, 2014 2:30 PM MYT
    Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage'

    Tori Spelling is said to believe she can cure Dean McDermott's "cheating ways". …

  • Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub'
    Cover Media
    Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub' Sat, Apr 19, 2014 11:00 AM MYT
    Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub'

    Nicki Minaj reportedly plans to have fire breathers and "naked performers" at her wedding. …

  • Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones 10 hours ago
    Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones

    SleepPhones dapat membantu anda untuk mengatasi masalah-masalah yang tidak diingini ketika tidur. …

  • Kebaikan air kacang soya
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Kebaikan air kacang soya Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:18 AM MYT
    Kebaikan air kacang soya

    Ramai yang mungkin suka minum air kacang soya, namun ramaikah yang tahu akan khasiat atau kebaikan kacang soya ini? …

  • Tips penjagaan bawah lengan
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tips penjagaan bawah lengan Fri, Apr 18, 2014 11:20 AM MYT
    Tips penjagaan bawah lengan

    Di sini kami ingin berkongsi dengan golongan wanita di luar sana beberapa tips berguna untuk mendapatkan bawah lengan yang cerah. …

  • Female candidates fight for rights in Iraq campaign
    Prashant Rao - AFP News
    Female candidates fight for rights in Iraq campaign 47 minutes ago
    Female candidates fight for rights in Iraq campaign

    With fears that women's rights are being eroded in Iraq, prospective female lawmakers are determined to push women's issues to the fore of campaigning for this month's elections. Despite a constitutional requirement that a quarter of all MPs be women, Iraq lags on key indicators such as female employment and literacy, and there is a bill before parliament that opponents say dramatically curtails women's rights. Also at issue ahead of April 30 elections are high levels of violence against …

  • Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?
    Yahoo Newsroom
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan? Thu, Sep 19, 2013 1:54 PM MYT
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?

    Pelat bukanlah disebabkan oleh lidah yang pendek. Apakah punca pelat? …

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.