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In 1550, Spanish chronicler Pedro Cieza de Leon wrote of the discovery of a vast set of buildings, some 25 km from the city of Huamanga. The architectural style differed systematically from Inca constructions. It was Wari, capital of the first pan-Andean State, dating back well before the Incas, as the culture flourished in the area from 550-800 AD.
Wari is a classic example of pre-Hispanic urban planning and engineering techniques.
The urban nucleus sprawls across some 400 ha and is thought to have housed 40,000 inhabitants at its peak. It is located in a strategic position due to its rapid access to the central coast and jungle, and the fact it lies halfway between the northern and southern highlands, where the Wari people built administrative centers and colonies.
A visit to Wari will take in the sector of Cheqowasi, a set of burial chambers that run down several levels. Possibly the graves of rulers and nobles, these chambers used rectangular, circular and quadrangular slabs of stone. Another sector, Moradochayoq, shows evidence of contact with the Tiawanaku, a culture that existed in the same era some 1,500 km away in the Lake Titicaca watershed.
A third sector is that of Capillapata, which is made up of trapezoid-shaped and rectangular constructions up to 400 meters long and featuring stone ramparts that stand over 10 meters tall. The Ushoaqoto sector, meanwhile, has unearthed carved human figures, pointing to the existence of workshops and deposits.
Wari is an expression of a mysterious era which one can only imagine. The traces of their strategists, engineers, warriors, craftsmen and high priests are carved into the stones that bear their secrets.
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