Ventanillas de Otuzco

Otuzco

Otuzco

Cajamarca

Cajamarca

Cajamarca sums up in its architecture the encounter between two cultures: Inca and Spain.

Archaeological remains in the area, however, tell of yet more ancient times, dating back to the Caxamarca culture (up to 1450 AD), with aqueducts and enigmatic cave paintings going back even further.

Just 8 km from the city, in the district of Los Baños del Inca, the Ventanillas de Otuzco stand out amidst the countryside. The site is a pre-Inca cemetery which pre-dates the Caxamarca culture, probably influenced by the Wari empire.

Hundreds of galleries and individual niches resembling windows were hewn into the volcanic stone. The niches are 8-10 meters deep, 50-60 cm high and are rectangular or quadrangular shaped. The niches probably were originally sealed with gravestones carved with figures in haut-relief, judging by fragments found nearby.

Legend has it that the Incas cleared out the niches and used them as grain storerooms ("collca" in Quechua), redirecting their entrances towards the wind to keep them cool.

The niches lead into a network of dark and mysterious galleries which appear to have no end, giving rise to myths of secret tunnels that linked Cajamarca to Cuzco.

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