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The Pachacamac Oracle in Lima  

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Description

The Pachacamac deity, which originated along the central coast, survived the Inca and Spanish Conquests. Inca mythology relates that the ancient deity was the god of fire and the offspring of the sun deity, the fountain of youth whose strength was linked to the earthquakes. With the arrival of Christianity, it was later bound up with the Christ of Pachacamilla, the painting known as the Lord of Miracles.

The area was first settled in 200 BC, but the shrine's construction did not get underway until the rise of the Lima culture (300-400 AD), where the Urpiwachak temple was built in the western sector and the Adobitos Complex, a set of large-scale constructions featuring complex architectural techniques.

Four hundred years before the Incas, the Ishmay culture developed a major ceremonial centre, featuring streets, dozens of temples fitted with ramps and the Painted Temple, evidence of their sense of religious urbanism.

When the Incas overran the valley in the fourteenth century, they adapted the existing constructions to their administrative needs, stripping the citadel of its sacred status and banishing the oracle to oblivion. The Incas built the Temple of the Sun, the Acllahuasi (House of the Virgins of the Sun), the Pilgrims' Plaza and other palaces whose painstaking reconstruction gives visitors an idea of what the site looked like 500 years ago.

The Pachacamac shrine is today an archaeological zone in the department of Lima doted with an on-site museum and natural protected areas, such as the carob forest and lake. A tour of the site is to go back in time through the history of the Lurín River Valley and the central coast, the burial sites and temples. Visitors can admire the age-old ability of the ancient Peruvians to live alongside nature.

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