Found in the Andean highlands of Peru, the archaeological and cultural site, Chavín de Huántar, Located 3.150 m.a.s.l. in the upper Mosna river valley. Because this archaeological location was the primary religious and cultural center of the Chavin nation, it was declared a Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
It was developed between 1500 and 300 BC. Prior to 400 BC, its primary religious function had ceased and was eventually occupied by casual residents of Huaraz. At Chavín de Huántar’s height, it was used as a religious center for events and ceremonies. It is also believed to have been the home for an oracle.
The site is a U-shaped plaza with a sunken circular court in the center where there is a temple, a massive flat-topped pyramid surrounded by lower platforms. Sculptures and carvings hand on the inside of the temple walls. Because of this temple, it’s become an important pilgrimage site that has drawn people from far and wide.
UNESCO Video about Chavin de Huantar
The Old Temple dates back to 8th to 3rd century BC and has been incredibly well-preserved due to the semi-quarried stone that was used to build it. Inside you will find obelisks and stone monuments with carvings that depict forms with anthropomorphic features. To this day, the main gallery still houses the people's most significant cult image; an obelisk called the Great Spear or the Lanzon. It is believed to be a Chavín de Huántar supreme deity, and it has a head of an animal but the body of a man.
The New Temple was believed to have been constructed between 500 and 200 BC also contained the Lanzon deity. However, this one is a holding a Spondylus shell in the left hand and a Strombus shell in the right.
To this day, archeologists are still trying to figure out what all the symbols mean and what the galleries were used for although it’s been believed that it is a temple that allowed its people speak with god, Lanzon who was believed to have the power to ensure a successful harvest.
How To Get There
The best to get there is with a travel guide as the trip there is a long one that will last about 3 hours. It’s best to go with a tour group led by someone who knows the area well.
You’ll be traveling by road from Huarez. If you leave from the town of Cátac which is located in the southern Callejón de Huaylas, you will travel for approximately 74 km. On your way there, you will pass the city of Recuay. Before reaching the archaeological complex of Chavin, you will also cross the tunnel of Cahuish and Valley of Conchucos.