The Pachacamac Sanctuary is located in the central coast of Peru, on the foothills of the Andes, south of Lima. The site is reached via the old South Pan-American Highway, in the district of Lurin, and has a total extension of 465 hectares, divided in two sectors by the highway: the South Sector (or Monumental Sector) and the North Sector (or Pampa de Atocongo)


The South Sector occupies approximately 158 hectares and contains the main archaeological structures, as well as the Pachacamac Site Museum. Towards the southern limit of this sector lies an ensemble of three temples that constitute the core of the Sanctuary: the Old Temple, the Painted Temple and the Temple of the Sun. To the northeast, lies the Pilgrim’s Square—a rectangular space three hundred meters long and seventy wide— as well as the so-called Ramped Pyramids, located inside a series of spaces delimited by adobe walls. Finally, to the east and west, there are three structures: the Temple of Urpi Wachaq, the Taurichumpi and the Temple of the Acllawasi or Ensemble of the Mamaconas (restored and rebuilt by the archaeologist Julio C. Tello in the 1940s). To the north of the Monumental Sector, on the other side of the highway, is the North Sector or Pampa de Atocongo, occupying approximately 300 hectares, where the site for the future park is located .The terrain in this sector rises gradually from the highway, reaching its highest point in the northern and northeastern boundary of the Pampa, where the Sanctuary meets Lima’s southern-most informal settlements. There are two archeological structures in this sector: a segment of the Second Wall, found towards the eastern border of the plain, and remnants of the Third Wall and Gate, near the center of the sector.
The relationship between the Sanctuary and its immediate surroundings has changed dramatically in the past decades. What used to be a rural boundary has become a faltering line of defense, barely holding up against the onslaught of urbanization . The Sanctuary’s perimeter is sometimes defined by a wall or a sequence of concrete landmarks that do little to mitigate the destructive force of the encroaching city. In some stretches, the line is simply a clearing or a dump. The Sanctuary is thus constantly being threatened by the activities of the local population and, in the same vein, local inhabitants are deprived of a public space that could improve their daily experience of the place. The roads that cross the site— the old Pan-American Highway and the highway to Atocongo (today, Lima Ave.)—exacerbate the situation by encouraging unregulated waste disposal and access to the site. This, combined with a lack of surveillance, has turned the Pampa de Atocongo into a wasteland, marked less by its archaeological remains, than by the presence of garbage, informal roads, and vandalism.
What used to be a rural boundary has become a faltering line of defense, barely holding up against the onslaught of urbanization
Aerial View of the sanctuary seen from the preserved ruins of Pachacamac. Copyright 2017-Marcela Durand
The vulnerable edge between the sanctuary and the community.
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All pictures- courtesy 2021 Bicentennial Projects

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