31 km (19 mi) to the south of Lima, a few kilometers down the old Pan-American Highway, in the Rimac valley, the Pachacamac ruins stand witness to the mysticism and religiosity of their past.
A pre-Inka ceremonial center, Pachacamac was the heart of the Huari Empire, an important pre-Columbian civilization. The god Pachacamac (‘creator of life and the universe’), whose worshipped image has been preserved, was venerated as early as 200 AD, long before the Inka.
Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro heard of Pachacamac in 1532 from the Inka king Atahualpa while the Inka was being held prisoner in Cajamarca in 1532.
An expedition was sent immediately to sack the Inka center, and the Spanish seized a large amount of silver and gold from the site.
In Inka times, Pachacamac became one of the holiest shrines of the central Andes, and with the arrival of the Spanish, the god Pachacamac was bound up with the Christ of Pachacamilla, as is shown by the painting ‘The Lord of Miracles’.
Today many visitors walk in astonishment along the Halls of the Acllahuasi (a residence that housed the young women who were chosen to serve the Inka), the Temple of the Pyramids and the Temple of the Sun.
Pachacamac overlooks San Pedro beach and the town of Lurin, famous for its prawns and ‘chicharrones’ (fried pieces of pork) served with ‘mote’ (boiled corn) — a popular Peruvian dish. You can have lunch there.