- Kotosh: The Temple of the Crossed Arms
Since time immemorial, Huánuco
has witnessed many major events in Peruvian history.
It was here that archaeologists found traces of human
occupation in Lauricocha, the oldest settlement in Peru
and Kotosh, the Temple of the Crossed Arms, held to
be the oldest in the Americas. Other important pre-inca
archaeological sites are Tantamayo and Garu.
When the Incas annexed Huánuco into their empire,
the city became an obligatory way station along the
route between Cuzco, the imperial capital, and Cajamarca,
the most important city in the northern part of the
Inca empire, the Tahuantinsuyo. The Incas left behind
a complex of more than 3,000 constructions at Huánuco
The city was founded in 1539 and
the seat of a major cultural movement during colonial
times. This can be seen from the architectural style
of buildings such as the Cathedral and the churches
of San Francisco and San Cristobal, which also house
valuable collections of colonial art.
Just a few hours from the city of
Huánuco lies, Tingo Maria. This town lent its
name to the Tingo Maria National Park, which shelters
a staggering variety of flora and fauna. The park features
spectacular scenery such as the Pumaringri mountain
range, whose silhouette resembles a sleeping woman,
thus giving rise to its nickname, La Bella Durmiente
(Sleeping Beauty). The park also features the Cueva
de las Lechuzas (the Cave of the Owls), a cave which
is a haven for a large variety of bird species.
The townsfolk run tourist excursions
during the celebration of the Anniversary of Huanuco
and the Festival of the Perricholi. Huanuco also features
natural hot springs such as Taripampa and Conoc.
TEMPLE OF THE CROSSED ARMS
of the magic of exploring Peru is the astounding number
of discoveries and archaeological ruins located near
many of the country’s main cities. This is the
case of the Temple of the Crossed Arms of Kotosh, just
4 km (2.48 miles) from the picturesque highland town
Nearly 5,000 years old, Kotosh is one of the earliest
signs of civilization in the Americas. The site features
a series of pyramid-shaped mounds, including a chamber
decorated with a mud sculpture of two pair of crossed
arms, one of the oldest examples of sculptures in the
Experts have had difficulty studying
the decoration of the Temple because of the age of the
ruins. Some believe the crossed arms inside the complex
symbolize alleged sacrifices carried out by the high
priests as offerings to their deities. Others, however,
see the crossed arms as a symbol of protection against
their enemies and even a representation of ritual communion.
In any case, the absence of ruins of housing in the
area point to the fact kotosh did not house many people,
but rather was a sacred spot, a pilgrimage center.
Kotosh is a living symbol of the
ancient treasures Peru guards in every nook and cranny
of its territory and part of the landscape of Huànuco