El Caral, America’s oldest town

El Caral is a city that was founded some 4500 years ago. It is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. El Caral is considered the first stone city in the Americas.

World Heritage

This UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’ functoned as a religious center. Which is reflected in the pyramids that have only been uncovered since 1996. Archaeologists are still working every day to fully map El Caral and various other surrounding settlements. El Caral is located about 200 km north of the Peruvian capital Lima. It’s about a three hours drive and therefore an excellent option for a day trip.

Fertile valley

El Caral is situated in a the fertile Supe valley in the middle of a desert. Although only 24 km inland, the climate is different here than on the coast, where the sun sometimes likes to hide behind a cloud cover.  The river Supe provides a fertile oasis. The first inhabitants of El Caral must have thought that this was a lovely place to stay. And so they were part of one of the greatest revolutions’ humanity has known. Namely the change from a hunter and gatherer culture to an agricultural culture. The inhabitants of el Caral grew beans, pumpkins, and cotton, among other things.

Pyramid

The city is open to the public. As a visitor you follow a few marked paths to let the antiquity pass you by.  The oldest structure that can be visited in el Caral is a pyramid that must have been built about 2600 years BC. You can admire several pyramids that look quite different than the pointed pyramids in Egypt, but with a more oval shape. The pyramids had a religious function and were host to all kinds of ceremonies and rituals. It is obvious that you should not venture beyond these paths to avoid damage to the excavations. Guides are available on site. They know a lot about the history and significance of the complex, but they also keep you informed about the developments of the excavations.

More information on El Caral on https://www.tripadvisor.com/

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