An OK Caral
March 30, 2013 – Day 617
So how did you spend your Saturday before Easter Sunday?
We went to an archaeological site.
To be more specific, we drove north of Lima to Caral, considered to be the oldest city in the Americas.
After a three-hour drive north – of which the last twenty kilometers was done on a road that had not been paved since Caral was last inhabited – we arrived. This is the entrance sign in all of its glory letting you know you have arrived.
Caral is located in a desert. This should help you understand why all the next series of pictures are rather bichromatic (tan bottom half / blue upper half).
We were assigned a guide as that is the only way to tour Caral. There are no free-range tourists at this site. As there are no ropes, fences, string, or any other barriers to keep the crowds off the ruins, having an ever-present guide is a good way to keep the rocks where they have been for the past five millennia.
The highlight of Caral are the pyramids which may even be older (but not larger) than the pyramids at Giza.
In front of the main structures at Caral Alto was a pit that – according to our guide – served as a sacred space for the upper echelons of the Caral citizenry. This picture below doesn’t do the structure justice, but you’ll see an aerial shot of the place at the “Thank You” sign
After a ninety-minute tour of the ruins, we were done. We knew we had completed our journey when we saw the sign thanking us for our visit. Politeness is always appreciated when one is dusty, hot, and thirsty.
And, yes, the exit here does drop you off at the gift shop / refreshment center.