The oldest city in the Southern Hemisphere

Of all civilizations that ever flourished in Peru, the ancient city of Caral (Supe valley) has the potential to rewrite the history of human civilization on earth.

It's considered to be the oldest city in the new world, earliest urban center of the Americas, as people moved from small family units to build cities of thousands of people (Caral had about 3,000 inhabitants at some point)

It was being built at the same time the Giza pyramids in Egypt were under construction.

Peru Travel: Caral
Caral - © Luis Montero

In fact, Radiocarbon dates (2001) show that this formidable architecture was under construction as early as 2627 BC and until about 2000 BC.

Caral is one of the 18 settlements built by the Supe society along the Supe valley, in the "Norte Chico" of Peru, some 185 km to the North of Lima by the Pan-American Highway.

This 66 hectares (approx. 200 acre) site, discovered in 1994 by Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady - Antrhopology Museum at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru - constitutes an elaborate complex of pyramids, temples, an amphitheatre and ordinary houses.

Peru Travel: Caral amphitheatre
Caral Amphitheatre - © Luis Montero

The public architecture has stairs, rooms, courtyards and three sunken plazas.
Te main pyramid -Pirámide Mayor- covers an area of about the size of four football fields.

It appears to be the model for the urban design adopted by other Andean civilizations such as Chavin, Wari, Moche, Inca, etc.

Curiously enough, the cities built the Caral society were not sited strategically.
No trace of warfare, weapons or mutilated bodies were found, what suggests a gentle society built mainly on commerce and pleasure.

For unknown reasons, it was abandoned after a period of about 500 years, ca 2100 BC.

This archaeological treasure, located 14 miles inland from Peru's coastline, was opened for tourism in 2006, so make sure you don't miss Caral on your next travel to Peru...the cradle of ancient cultures...

How to Get There:

By bus:

From Lima to nearby towns of Huacho, Supe of Barranca and then hire a taxi to the site.
Better yet, hire a private car through your hotel inLima or rent a car from Hertz, National or Budget.

You could also opt for a day tour to Caral.

Where to Stay:

If you wish to remain overnight in the area for a longer visit to Caral, try the towns of...

Huacho: Barranca:


Return from Caral to Peru
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