Chavin de Huantar was the main cultural/religious center of Chavin culture.
Initially a wandering nation, they inhabited the Andean basin of Marañón river and Callejón de Huaylas -between 1500 and 300BC -and later expanded and dominated much of the North and central part of Peru, from Tumbes to Nazca, approximately.
However, they were the first pan-Andean culture, and set the stage for other civilizations such as Tihuanaco, Wari and Inca. Located 250 km to the North of Lima, on the banks of Mosna river, Chavin de Huantar rises at 3,185 meters a.s.l., about three hours driving from Huaraz (capital of department of Ancash).
Also known as "Castillo Chavin" (Chavin Castle) or "Templo Chavin" (Chavin Temple), it's composed of major structures, including temples A,B, and C and areas and buildings designated as...
Built in three platforms with very advanced architecture, the temple has cylindrical columns carved and figured.
Its interior has many labyrinthine passageways, galleries and rooms interconnected through stone carved staircases.
The famous "Lanzón de Chavin", a monolithic lance of 4,5 meters hight is located in one of the interior living rooms, carved into ferocious deities and monstrous beasts.
It was the supreme deity of Chavin de Huantar.
Let's have a look at three of their most famous bas-relief stone carvings...(new window)
Another important detail is that of the "Cabezas Clavas" (Nail-Heads), adorning the outer facade.
Currently, only one remains as originally placed.
Chavin de Huantar took place around 2,000 years before the Incas, a symbol of Peru's ancient Northern cultures not to be missed by archaeology lovers.
Being so close to Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhash - Peru's foremost center for trekking and mountaineering - you could combine a visit to the complex with some memorable treks the region is famous for.
Furthermore, you could choose to get there through the popular Olleros-Chavin llama trek.
Let's visit the temple through this video (subtitled in Spanish)...
Chavin de Huantar was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
It's another of the most important tourist attractions in Peru waiting to be discovered by you on your next journey to South America...
From the city of Huaraz (Ancash), located about 400 km (248 miles) from Lima, you'll take a not paved road for about 74 km (46 miles), which leaves from the town of Catac, to the South of Callejón de Huaylas.
Alternatively, if not driving, you could take a day tour (12 hours) from Huaraz or do instead the Olleros-Chavin llama trek (three days).
Find and compare best hotel rates in Huaraz.
If you happen to be in the village of Huantar (just outside the complex), check...