Home > Argentina > Tilcara and the ruins of Pucara: sorry, tired – dull post

Tilcara and the ruins of Pucara: sorry, tired – dull post

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The village of Tilcara sits half way up the Quebrada de Humanhuaca at around 2,500m (7,500 feet). (Humanhuaca Gorge). This little settlement has been here since pre-Incan times, and one of it’s main claims to fame is the ancient ruins of Pucara.

best thing about Tilcara was our hostel: apart from the owner's grumpy husband - our rooms was under the arch on the right

we made our own fun on the pre-incan ruins

typical street scene - a few months into the travelling, and this seems to be the norm

Pucara lies about 1 kilometre outside Tilcara, and sits on what looks like some sort of enormous terminal moraine. Parts of the site have been rebuilt to give an idea of how the place may have looked, whilst other parts are still being excavated. Given the ruins are the main attraction, the most striking thing here is not the ruins, but the enormous cacti. These tower above you and the spikes are 3 inches long. In the archeological museum, they have examples for using the needles for sewing, and even lining them up and making combs. One thing is for sure, these plants are treated with serious respect. It is obviously good cacti territory as it has not rained here since March, so as well as being thin on air, it is pretty arid.

some of the cacti are just ridiculous

road to Pucara

The rest of Tilcara remains pretty unremarkable apart from the real sense of living at the edge of the world, all the faces are weather beaten, wrinkled and wizened from the high altitude, strong sun and wind; even the children are wrinkled. The indigenous population is pretty much intact and has a characteristic slightly Mongolian look, they also view the white intruders with more than a bit of suspicion.

strangulation leads to good behaviour

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