The Olivetts in Peru 2010-2011 travel blog

A Chilean Couple Entering the Citadel

A typical veiw of the site... except for the only restored house.


Kuelap is a fortress that was built by a pre-Incan culture, the Chachapoyas. Their architecture is characterized by circular buildings and they were topped by steep pitched thatch roofs . The entire citadel was surrounded by a massive limestone wall ranging in height from 20 to 40 feet. It is an oval shape about a half mile in length and it sits atop a 10,000 foot mountain with commanding views of the surrounding valleys. Previous to their demise, facilitated by the Incas, the complex housed around 35,000 people. It has been estimated that there was more stone used to build Kuelap than was used to build the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It was all carried by hand from the valley below.

I made the three hour trip there in a van with 8 other people. After touring the site I opted to walk back down the ancient stone hauling trail. It went to bottom of the valley passing though the limestone quarries. The walk took two and a half hours. It dropped 3,000 feet in about 3 miles. I came out in the tiny village of Tingo, from there I hitched back to Chachapoyas. It was an hour before a car came along.

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