Pukara, Ancient Archaeological Site and Ornamental Bulls

Pukara, also written as Pucara, is the name of both a southern Peruvian town and a nearby archaeological site in the Lampa Province of Puno Region. Less than an hour from Ayaviri, Rocío and I stopped here in September 2016 to explore the ruins and associated museum.

Pukara archaelogical site in front of mountain, Puno Region, Peru

Pukara ruins in front of a rocky hill

With evidence of settlement as early as 1,800 BC, Pukara was the region’s first large urban centre. Entry in September 2016 cost 10 soles and included both the ruins and associated monument museum, containing sculptures and other relics recovered from the site.

Andean flicker on rock wall, Pukara, Lampa Province, Puno Region

An Andean Flicker, a type of woodpecker, on a dry-stone wall, Pukara

The Andean Flicker has a patch of red feathers on its nape. Rocío explained the local legend that, after lying, the bird had its tongue removed through the back of its neck, causing the red patch.

View of ancient ruins and Pukara town from mountain

The Pukara ruins and town viewed from on top of a hill

Pukara town dominated by church Santa Isabel de Pucará

Pukara’s colonial Santa Isabel de Pucará church, like Ayaviri’s, dominates the town; note the adobe wall ruins in the foreground (more modern than the ancient site)

Yellow wildflowers, Pukara, Lampa Province, Puno Region, Peru

Yellow daisy-like wildflowers, Pukara

Old pottery fragments on rock wall, Pukara

Old pottery fragments on a rock wall, Pukara

Three doves on wall of ruined building, Pukara

Three doves sit on adobe mud walls of ruined buildings, Pukara; the walls contained old pottery fragments (as seen on this post’s featured image)

Pukara ceramics are well known throughout the southern Peru where they are displayed as prosperity ornaments on roofs and other places. In Pukara itself, the bulls are ubiquitous, topping columns surrounding the church and for sale in the multiple souvenir shops.

Church Santa Isabel de Pucará featuring Pucara bulls on fence columns

Church Santa Isabel de Pucará featuring Pucara bulls on fence columns

Pucara Municipality building with a Pucara bulls in sculpture and tiles

Pucara Municipality building with a Pucara bulls in sculpture and tiles

Following a filling meal, from the highway we caught a bus to Juliaca to change transport for our next destination Macusani.

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