Part of the Lima PreColombina series
Found at at the Plaza de la Bandera where the district of Pueblo Libre meets Breña and Lima Cercado, the ruins of five pyramids that make up this Lima Culture complex called Huaca Mateo Salado tower over the surrounding modern houses.
The complex was named after a Frenchman called Matew Salé who lived here in the 1550s when the area was ancient farm land. It was once connected to and formed part of the great Maranga city that was built by the Lima culture between 200AD and the 1450s AD, a long road running between them with a wall at either side. The Mateo Salado monuments were constructed and used at the same time as the new huacas were built in Maranga, those that now stand in the Parque de las Leyendas zoo.
Little now survives of the road that connected these ruins with Maranga, nor does much survive of the great number of ancient buildings and homes that covered the area. All has been built over by modern development in the 1800s and 1900s, and to my horror people are still coming and illegally building homes on the ruins today. Refusing to move, these invaders cite their human rights and protest violently when authorities attempt to remove them from the protected areas.
Peru’s National Institute of Culture is now carrying out restoration works, as ordered by Peruvian President Alan Garcia.
“Soon, the Huaca Mateo Salado will be ready to receive hundreds of tourists interested in knowing more about the cultures that developed in Lima. We have plans to build a small on-site museum of Pre-Inca civilizations of Peru’s south coast”, Garcia stated, adding that he regretted that many archaeological sites have been devastated as the modern city grew, much of the damaged carried out by his generation.
Unfortunately, Garcia’s interest in Lima’s ancient past doesn’t go beyond how much money can be made from tourism. Nearby at the University of San Marcos, his plans for the amplification of the Avenida Venezuela mean cutting a chunk off the the most important Maranga pyramid.