Today a group of us volunteers paid a mere 18 soles ($5.80 dollars) to visit one of the most ancient man-made structures in South America.
We caught the tour bus here at the Plaza de Armas, which is the exact place where over 20,000 Spanish Conquistadors marched into Cajamarca and massacred the local Incan community. The bus ride was a constant assent into the mountains until we reached up to 20,000 feet elevation. Our tour guide spoke only Spanish and was filled with fascinating facts regarding the old Incan stomping grounds of Cumbe Mayo.
Upon arrival our group ventured down to a rock formation which featured indecipherable petroglyphs carved out by the area’s previous Incan inhabitants around 1,500 B.C. Our tour guide mentioned that many archaeologists have tried with no validated success to translate the meanings behind these petroglyphs.
Carvings of Christian symbolism including crosses and fish were also marked along the path of our tour. These very well may have been carved out of genuine expression of the Incan people’s faith. There is also the possibility that these carvings were attempts to comply with the Crusaders desires of theological conversion. Mere speculation on my behalf.
We came across a native Peruvian women carrying this little guy as our group continued venturing down towards a valley of natural eroded rock formations. The lamb was not too fond of me handling him, as he kicked his hind legs and baa’d(?) every few seconds. A woman further down the way was also selling mushrooms, flowers, and hard-boiled chicken eggs. Melina and I indulged in the latter mentioned sustenance.
As we descended down into a valley there were rock formations similar to this on both sides of us. This picture does no justice for the incredible shapes in which natural erosion has formed these masses of volcanic rock into. These rocks were high reaching with some having razor sharp peaks.
As our group got to level ground after descending to the valley we came across the “Pillar of Sacrifice”. Incan inhabitants of old performed both animal and human sacrifices upon this very rock. One can still see that the Pillar of Sacrifice maintains a slight tint of blood red on the top surface when comparing shades with the sides.
A nine kilometer hand-made aqueduct stretched along a majority of our tours path. Precise geometrical carvings of this ancient wonder have perplexed archaeologists to this current day. The picture above displays what our guide mentioned as the most important feature of this, as the Incans carved out a slope for fresh water to funnel into the aqueducts.
Additional rock formations complimented the spacious landscape towards the end of our Cumbe Mayo tour. There is something truly magnificent about the physical landscape which served as a home to an Incan community many thousands of years ago. Such marvelous natural structures combined with the fertility of this land was sure to keep the indigenous Incans in high spirits.
Our bus stopped for a brief picture opportunity on our way down the mountain from Cumbe Mayo. This location overlooks Peru’s division of Cajamarca in its entirety. Peru is beautiful. From the low clouds scraping its surrounding mountaintops to the glorious sunrises and sunsets. God is good to these people. The Peruvians are full of kindness and contentment. Scenic beauty like this reminds me that we all have so much to be thankful for. With love.