The Peruvian highlands are generally less visited than other more famous areas of the country such as Cusco or Puno. However they possess some hidden gems that should not be missed on a trip to Peru. This culturally rich region abounds with archeological sites, fascinating unspoiled traditions and particularly hospitable people that will make your trip to Peru unforgettable
One of the many interesting sites of Rio Mantaro Valley, in the central sierra, which will ravish all history addicts is the impressive ruins of the ancient capital of the Wari Empire. Fairly unknown by the majority of tourists to Peru, the Wari is a fascinating culture which once encompassed several hillsides outside Ayacucho, between 600 and 1,100 AD. The Wari site is located about 14 miles (23km) north of Ayacucho, and is believed to have been home to over 50,000 at the peak of its development.
The Wari, also spelled Huari, were a militaristic, expansionist and very religious society in the 7th century who managed to conquer most of Peru where they established a strong and oppressive empire, imposing their own language and culture on their subjects. The Wari empire reached its apogee in the 9th century before fragmenting into several sub-groups which were eventually conquered by the Incas.
There are several Wari sites remaining in Peru, the best known being Cerro Baul, north ofMoquega in the far South of the country, Toro Muerto, which are petroglyphs about three hours from Arequipa, the Pachacamac site south of Lima, Pikillacta nearby Cusco, and Wilcahuain near Huaraz. The capital city in the highlands near Ayacucho is the most impressive remnant of the Wari culture.
The influence of the Wari culture on Peruvian history has been particularly strong as they were the first to built roads connecting their outposts, system later extended by the Incas. Their massive buildings were made to resists earthquakes often feature polygonal rock blocks, an architectural element which the Incas also adopted. The Waris are also known for their extraordinarily refined tapestries and woven textiles, among the best produced by any culture in the world. Some well-preserved examples can be seen in several museums in the country.
By : Hortense Soulier