Nine of Lima’s huacas to form new tourist circuit

March 15th, 2010

Nine of Lima’s many pre-Inca adobe pyramidal mounds, or huacas, will form part of a new tourist circuit the Foreign Commerce and Tourism Ministry (MINCETUR) has announced.

The authority has proposed a project to restore eight huacas in various districts as in order to turn them into viable tourist attractions, much like what has been done with the incredibly successful Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores.

The plan, realized with the help of the National Institute of Culture (INC), will include modern lighting systems to light up the historical monuments at night. This lighting system forms the basis of the plan as the the plan is to make touring the circuit a night-time activity.

The huacas to be included in the project are:

Mateo Salado and La Luz
San Marcos (northern part of Maranga)
Santa Cruz
La Merced
San Borja

According to Cecilia Bákula of the INC, these particular sites were chosen because of their ease of access. But Carlos Canales of the National Tourism Chamber added that it is not enough to restore the huacas if this work does not go hand in hand with an urban development plan for their respective areas. This includes not only infrastructure and services, but also security.

“The zone around Mateo Salado is well known for the sale of drugs, moreover there are invasores building on the land”, Canales explained.

It is hoped that by making the sites tourist attractions this would be achieved. Should the huacas generate income, this could be used to maintain infrastructure and security in the surrounding areas.

Bákula explains that local security is the responsibility of local government and residents.

With regards to those who have illegally built their homes on the restricted archaeological area, which is supposed to be protected by the INC, Bákula explains that this does not risk the opening of the site to tourists, adding that it might demonstrate to the invasores the importance of preserving the historic site. So far, the judicial process to remove them has spanned years and has not advanced.

The huaca Cruz de Armatambo in Chorrillos has also been ‘invaded’. According to Mincetur as much as 95% of the site has been built upon, destroying almost all of the archaeological site. The restoration will only take place in the 5% of area left.

City Districts

Some city districts actively sought to have their ancient sites participate in the project.

San Borja contacted both Mincetur and the INC early on to include the Huaca San Borja. They proposed a plan to open small businesses at the site, such as a café.

Lima (Cercado) promised to give its all to the success of the program. Both the Mateo Salado complex and the northern pyramids of Maranga that include San Marcos fall within it’s boundaries.

Magdalena del Mar had been working on restoring the Huaca Huantille for some time, having great success in improving the local area that was once know as a hot spot for crime. The huaca also suffered from invaders. Hard work has made a big difference, but the district has since run out of funds to continue, but, “this investment from the ministry has just fallen from the sky”, explained a pleased representative.

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