Peru is an important country in South America. It is not only the source of the Amazon River, the world’s largest, but it was also the center of the Inca civilization, perhaps the most advanced pre-Columbian civilization in the New World. Many of its man-made wonders are associated with its native people, but there are also several more modern examples of man’s presence here which are worthy of note, particularly in its two major cities, Lima and Cusco. Below is my list of Peru’s most important man-made structures, to be followed by a photo album.
1. Machu Picchu, near Cusco. Dating back to 1450 AD, this "lost city of the Incas" is the most spectacular pre-Columbian site in South America. It has been voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is, of course, a World Heritage Site. The buildings are all constructed of polished, dry stone and are combined without mortar, a technique called "ashlar," for which the Inca are world-renowned.
2. Nazca Lines, in the western part of the country, south of Lima. These geoglyphs were created between 200 BC and 700 AD in an area which covers over 200 square miles. There are over seventy (70) animal, insect and human figures along with many more geometric lines. Most scholars assume that the purpose of the lines was somehow religious in nature, but no one knows for sure.
3. Cathedral, Cusco. This large and beautiful church sits on the Plaza de Armas and is one of the major focal points for most visitors to this ancient city.
4. Cathedral, Lima. Begun by Francesco Pizarro, conqueror of the Incas, this Colonial masterpiece contains his tomb as well as numerous sculptures and other artwork.
5. Aqueduct, Cumbe Mayo. This 5-mile long aqueduct is thought to have been constructed in 1500 BC, making it the oldest man-made structure still in existence in South America.
6. Choquequirao. This Incan "sister city" of Machu Picchu (see above) is just as impressive but not as frequently visited. It was built in 1535 AD and is thought to have been the last area and refuge of the Incans when the city of Cusco was under siege.
7. Agricultural Terraces, Moray. The Inca ruins here consist of several terraced depressions which were used to determine the effects of altitude on crops. The resourceful Incans used a complex irrigation system to supply water to the entire area.
Santo Domingo Church, Cusco.
Gran Vilaya Archaeological Site
Governor’s Palace, Lima
Casas Antiguas, Trujillo