Skip to comments.Kuelap - The Machu Picchu Of Northern Peru (Chachapoyas - White, blonde haired people)
Posted on 10/07/2006 3:43:02 PM PDT by blam
Kuelap the Machu Picchu of Northern Peru.
The mysterious super fortress of the Chachapoyan Cloud People
Kuelap is the largest building structure of the Americas. It is estimated to contain 3 times more material than Egypts largest pyramid. Peru considers Kuelap to be as good as Machu Picchu and is trying to make this its equal 2nd major destination. It is twice as old as the Incas and in remarkably better condition before restoration.
Kuelap is an unknown giant just waking up. Peru is a huge country the size of the 5 west coast states, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Montana. At present 99% of the tourists only go from Lima to the south while only 1% goes to the void north of Lima. Until this new century, the largest unexplored mountains in the in the Americas was in this zone. The Andes would stretch from San Francisco to London, with only the Himalayans higher. When the Spanish arrived, the Incas ruled the Andes.
The reason this zone is America's best kept secret is that the first dirt vehicle road came only 35 years ago. Previous to this the natives say that few came or went by their only access, -- a two-month walk on ancient Inca major routes. One Inca highway goes through here in a partially explored zone from Columbia to the Inca heartland. Another unexplored lateral route goes from Levanto and Kuelap to the coast through Cajamarca where the Inca was captured. This former Kuelap East-West road may have been the gold and feather route used by the spectacular Moche and Chimu cultures from the coast to the Moyobamba jungles zone. No other cultures reached their superior level of goldsmiths, and hundreds of pyramids.
Kuelaps mystery has barely been studied. Construction began about 800AD at the same time that the Andes most spectacular empire began its expansion from Bolivia. This was the Tiahuanaco or Wari Empire, known as The Golden City Building Era of the Andes, or the Middle Horizon. The Wari (or Huari) built most of the Inca roads and trails and almost every ancient city. They were in power 300 years compared to less than 100 years of the Incas. The Wari evolved to an empire of cities sustained by a sophisticated transportation system implying specialization of labor, engineers, artisans, etc. Today the Wari Empire is barely known because the Spanish did not discover and document them with their gold. A parallel comparison would be similar to the Mayans which the Spanish ignored because of their decline in power and gold. Today the worlds interest in the Mayan Culture has grown to pass the Aztecs, as studies reveal their ability to write and build spectacular cities & structures. A great reference book about the complete Andes history is The People and Cultures of Ancient Peru by Luis Lambrates, translated into English by the Smithsonian Institution Press.
Now it seems that Kuelap was not built by the empire but rather a confederation of the Chachapoyan Cloud People to stop the Wari invasion. A relative short distance across the Marinon River was the most advanced stronghold cities of the Wari in the north of Peru at Cajamarca and Huamachuco. A glaring fact is that on the other side of the river, all of the pottery and artifacts mirrors the Bolivian style of the empire. The total lack of Wari artifacts in this zone would indicate the Wari either could not defeat the Chachapoyans, -- or were themselves defeated at Kuelap causing the collapse of the empire at that time.
The greatest mystery of the Chachapoyan Cloud People was, who were they? How would they know to start construction of mountain top citadels and fortresses 250 years before the Wari advanced to conquer them? Was it a coincident that Kuelap was completed at just the right time to stop them? John Hemming wrote in Conquest of the Incas that Kuelap was the strongest fortification in the Americas, and if the Inca could have made a stand there, - the Spanish horses and artillery would be useless and history might have been different today. Keith Muscutt wrote in his book that this zone was so heavily populated in the past, -- it would be unlikely today to go to any likely peak in the cloud forest, and NOT FIND a lost stone citadel. Being made of stone, these ruins can be found today. I have been approached 10 times in the last couple of years by pioneers wanting me to see an undiscovered ruins they have found on their land.
Vanquished cultures of the Andes usually were displaced to lower areas and the jungles. An interesting fact was the Incas first began their conquest after Inca Pachacutec defeated the Chancas from Wari. At that time the Chancas were the former Wari Empire culture, - but now in decline. Later when the Incas were approaching their peak, the former Wari nation bolted and fled from the Inca influence. Their king said that their elite class were like the Incas in that they came from a strange land elsewhere, so their pride wouldnt allow them to remain under Inca domination. So, where did the former Wari flee as the most secure place of the entire Andes? They fled down in the lower slopes below Kuelap in the jungle of Lamas. Did they perceive that the Incas couldnt defeat the Chachapoyans to get to them? Even today these former Wari people contrast drastically in their customs, clothing and appearance from the jungle cultures. Now ANOTHER large stretch of speculation of displaced cultures being forced to lower jungle areas. PERHAPS one could conclude and believe a predominance of the fair skin and often blond people living in the nearby jungle of Rodrigues de Mendoza were the former Chachapoyan Cloud People?
Inca chronicles and legends persist that the Cloud People were tall fair (skin and hair) warriors. This is reinforced by an unusually large proportion of blond, fair natives in this zone who know of no European ancestry. However Julio C. Tello and anthropologists speculate the Chachapoyans may have been a jungle culture that migrated there through the Magdalena Valley of Columbia, and preferred the mountaintops. Whatever case, the Cloud People dont fit the pattern of other Andeans. They lived behind walls in well crafted stone round houses with a pointed thatch tepee roof. One would suspect they farmed better land below the cloud forest, which wasnt leached out and eroded, but lived on the peaks.
This zone gets seasonal rains from November to April, but Kuelap is always accessible. The dry season is from June to October but still has brief showers that are usually tiny droplets. This is caused by moist air of the jungle, pushed up over the peaks causing it to chill. This humid air condensates forming almost perpetual clouds, -- just before the droplets get large enough to rain. In this environment air plants dominate so bromeliads, orchids and moss cover the trees and stone citadels. Rapid clouds coming and going create photogenic panoramas adding a veiled mystery to the peaks.
This zone is called la ceja de la selva, - meaning the eyebrow of the Amazon. Above the ceja is the nightly freeze line which is a bald grassland high on the crest of the cordillera. Below the cloud forest are often desert river valleys where often only cactus will grow. A dense forest forms a band 2/3 of the way up the cordillera, resembling an eyebrow overlooking the Amazon Basin. After the clouds were chilled being pushed over the peaks, they dive downwards and warm up so the vapor turns to gasses, and the clouds disappear before your eyes. There are spectacular rainbows every day. The rainfall may be a drastic 2 to 3 meters difference from the valleys to the peaks and only a very few kilometers vertically away. All of this creates thousands of mini ecological zones, depending on elevation, sun orientation or prevailing winds, etc. The Incas had access to many jungle medicines, -- but a majority of their best medical plants were adapted to these mini-ecological zones. Todays fad is to search for lower jungle medical plants while neglecting these more likely ones at higher altitudes, which have even a greater threat of deforestation.
Kuelaps five walls inside of walls contain over 400 buildings. Each wall is from one to two telephone poles high with its 2nd level walls being the highest, extending a kilometer along a mountain ridge overlooking the Utcabamba River. Some think Kuelap was positioned to defend the Gran Vilaya region that was heavily populated behind Kuelap and the cordillera. There are some mysterious structures inside the fortress. One is a large cone shaped stone structure, defying gravity with the top much larger diameter than the bottom. Now the inside of this tenador (ink well), is shaped like a rose bud vase, - or a light bulb without the plug. The top hole is about ½ meter diameter, and a few meters down below, it opens into a large circular room. Some think it was a prison. Others think it was an oracle observatory where the shaman can be inside to observe a special star pass over the lens to signal an exact time or event of the year. A separate odd stone structure is an 8 pointed star with the longest 4 points pointing EXACTLY to north, south, east & west. Now at the north end a high stone tower is called the mitador, or observatory. From here signals could be sent to Choctomal that could relay the signal around the valleys bend to another ruins high on the Abra Yumal Pass. This would then relay the signal to Gran Vilaya (which some think Kuelap was built to defend).
Ping for later read.
What about Nazca?
I think we are discovering a loss of very high technology from the past. The pyramids represent one aspect. The drawings appreciated only from the air are another.
Chachapoyas, which means People of the Clouds, is the name of a civilization that fought from high forest strongholds in resistance to Inca expansion and Spanish invasion. One of the last kingdoms to succumb to the Inca, its legacy includes one of South America's archaeological wonders - the defensive fortress of Kuelap. Perched on the shoulder of a 10,000-foot mountain, this 9th Century citadel comprisesan urban complex of more than 400 stone edifices - homes, palaces and temples enclosed by a 70-foot-tall stone wall.
Their architecture demonstrates decidedly non-Inca features, such as protruding geometric patterns, cornices, and friezes. Kuelap's setting is unforgettably beautiful - a tropical cloud forest festooned with orchids and steeped in mystery.
The Revash Tombs, the Karajia Sarcophagi and the extensive network of Chachapoyas paved trails also serve as a reminder of the greatness of this vanished nation. Archaeologists just now are mapping and excavating many important Chachapoyas sites. The museum in Leymebamba, which displays 200 mummies recovered from the remote Lake of the Condors, describes the extraordinary embalming methods of the Chachapoya, their lifestyle and culture. The Museum also houses a collection of knotted Quipu, the record-keeping device of the Incas.
Cajamarca is a city of colonial charm, rolling Andean countryside, and home to the important archaeological sites of Ventanillas of Otuzco and Cumbemayo. It is a place of great historical significance - in this city Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured, imprisoned, ransomed, and executed Inca Emperor Atahualpa, unleashing the destruction of Inca civilization. Travelers may stroll in the town square - site of the first and decisive battle between the Spanish and the Inca - and visit the ransom rooms that were filled with gold and silver by legions of loyal Inca subjects in the attempt to buy the freedom of their doomed regent.
A separate odd stone structure is an 8 pointed star with the longest 4 points pointing EXACTLY to north, south, east & west.
I wonder WHEN it was pointing "Exactly" to the cardinal directions.
"Kuelaps mystery has barely been studied. Construction began about 800AD at the same time that the Andes most spectacular empire began its expansion from Bolivia. This was the Tiahuanaco or Wari Empire, known as The Golden City Building Era of the Andes, or the Middle Horizon."
BTW, these are the guys who domesticated cocaine. It is very popular with many people around the world. It was probably very popular in ancient times as well. Egyptian mummies from one period have cocaie molecules inside the body cells ~ meaning they used it in life ~ which means somebody would have had to have brought it from the Andean highlands!!!!
So who were these intrepid narcotic "mules" ~ bet they weren't blue eyed blonds eh!??
Who are these people and why do we know so little about them? (Get a large grant and go find out for us, lol)
Exiled miners of King Solomon? (Ofir?)
Thanks. I'll be in Indy for Thanksgiving...I'll go look.
Some of this stuff popped up about the time a guy named Selig (from Indianapolis) went from Naptown to Brazil to assist in setting up an enormous developmental effort in the jungle.
I've subsequently discovered that a guy named Carvalho/Carvajal (same name, one Spanish, one Portuguese) made the first trip down the Amazon by starting over in the Andes, and then made his way to the plains in what is now Southern Ecuqador, etc., and moved from there (with some companions) to the East Coast. He had a diary which no one ever paid any attention to until recently. I'm betting Selig was simply the first guy to believe that diary. This is where all the stories of folks with blond hair come from. He also said there were large cities out there with hundreds of thousands of people. More recently another Carvajal has been using the older information as a guide to find massive settlements ~ and he's been finding massive settlements (or rather, their raised bed farms, still there).
One of the more interesting ways to determine how old a culture is, is if they have a solar observatory. Such an observatory needs only three markers. The equinox marker in the middle, and the two solstice markers on either side of it.
The distance between these three matter, because the axis tilt of the Earth is considerably less than it used to be. This long-term shift is known as "the precession of the equinoxes." This change isn't measured in relation to the sun, but rather to the other stars in the sky. Every 26,000 years the Earth's axis goes through a cycle of pointing to different parts of the sky.
Concurrently, on Earth it seems that the yearly axis shift becomes less and less.
In human terms, this would mean that the two solstice points will have moved closer together in our present day, and knowing how much shift happens every year, we can tell when the observatory was originally built.
Thanks. Very fascinating.
I had a female engineer (Zulma) from Peru in my organization years ago and asked her about the blonde headed people I'd heard about. She said, "yes, they're there in the mountains".
Thanks, good info...I never would have thought of that.
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