Overlooking the green valley of the Supe River, The Sacred City of Caral-Supe is a 5,000-year old archaeological site that is 626 hectares in size. Its preservation has been exceptional despite dating back to the Late Archaic Period of the Central Andes, the oldest centre of civilization in the Americas.
The site boasts impressive structures that are known for their design and architecture. There’s an eerie similarity to the other notable cultures that were growing around the same time particularly Egypt which also built stone pyramids. In fact, Caral was thriving right around the time that Egypt’s pyramids were being built. Caral is believed to be home to 3,000 people. However, it was abandoned by its resident for reasons unknown although many speculate it was due to drought.
What makes Caral so exceptional are its own six large pyramidal structures, its monumental stone, earthen platform mounds, and sunken circular courts. This 4,000 to 4,600 city in the Peruvian desert is filled with temples. There is also an amphitheatre along with ordinary houses. The main temple complex, Templo Mayor, is 150 meters long, 110 meters wide and 28 metres high. There is a 29-foot wide staircase that opens into a series of small rooms which include a sacred altar believed to be where offerings were once burned.
In 2000, the chief of excavations, Marco Machacuay, and his colleague, Rocio Aramburu, discovered a geoglyph located on the desert floor. The lines of the geoglyph form a human face with a mouth agape. It appears to be half a face on its side with a sagging eye. Of course, you would only be able to appreciate the geoglyph from high above.
“The Sacred City of Caral-Supe reflects the rise of civilisation in the Americas. As a fully developed socio-political state, it is remarkable for its complexity and its impact on developing settlements throughout the Supe Valley and beyond… The design of both the architectural and spatial components of the city is masterful, and the monumental platform mounds and recessed circular courts are powerful and influential expressions of a consolidated state.”
How to Get There
Caral is located in Supe Valley, Km 184 Pan-American Highway, north of Lima. The Supe Valley is 200 miles north of Lima on the Peruvian Pacific coast. You will need to take a bus from Lima to Barranca. The trip will take about three hours. A collective or a shared taxi can take you to the site; the ride is about 45 minutes long.
If you want to visit the site you can enjoy their tour programs
Immerse in Northern Peru cultures particularly Caral’s, Inkanatura offers a 7 Days/6 Nights package. The trip begins in Lima and ends at Chiclayo airport. Travel by land from Lima to Northern Peru and discover the secrets of Northern Archaeology which include a night in Caral. The tour continues to Trujillo and to Chiclayo where you will board a flight back to Lima.
If you want to visit The Sacred City and stay overnight, you can stay at Hotel Empedrada Lodge which is conveniently located at Mz s / n Lot A2 - Fundo La Empedrada Caral and only 25 minutes from Caral