Back up the Andes – to Ayacucho for some Wari culture and post-civil war enquiry

So enough of this mucking about at sea level and enjoying hot weather on beaches, it’s back up the mountains for a while for us. This time to the Ayacucho region in the south central Andes of Peru, an area steeped in Andean history for the last 2000 years, with a rebellious reputation that has endured. The history of the Wari (or Huari) culture intrigues because of its influence on the later ‘Inca empire’; the Battle of Ayacucho (1824) was a final stage of the war for Peru’s ‘independence’ from Spain; and for the last 20 years of the 20th century Ayacucho was at the centre of a bloody civil war that convulsed Peru and has repercussions to this day. Continue reading

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#potd: Rumicolca – the Wari and Inca southern entry point to Cusco valley

Built over 500 years ago by the Inca’s, this defensive wall & entry point is named ‘Rumicolca’ and was used by them to control the flow of people & goods into the Cusco valley from the south-east. As with so much the Inka did, it was in fact an improvement on a structure built by others centuries before, in this case by the Wari (or Huari in Spanish) people.
cusco_sthgateRumicolca is an impressive structure some 12m tall and 3-4m thick. It’s located some 32km south-east of Cusco city, in the valley of the River Watanay (or Huatanay). The original Wari construction is believed to have been an aqueduct over where the river would then have flowed, but by the time of the Inca drought had lowered the water level of both the river and the nearby lakes of Huacarpay & Sucre, a process that continues today.

Impressive as the Inca structure is, arguably more impressive is the legacy of the Wari culture & empire, which existed from around 500-1100AD, although archeologists & others differ on the exact dates. The Wari originated from the region & city now known as Ayacucho in present day south-central Peru, in the Andes – this is a region that has continued throughout history to be rebellious, and as recently as the 1980-90’s was the base for the Sendero Luminosa (or Shining Path) maoist inspired peasant rebellion. The Wari came to dominate much of the south-central highlands of Peru and most of the coast, and went as far south as the shores of Lake Titicaca, where they ran into the Tiwanaku (or Tiahuanaco in Spanish) culture & empire, in what is now called Bolivia. Continue reading