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 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.
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.
The Pukara ruins and town viewed from on top of a hill
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 daisy-like wildflowers, Pukara
Old pottery fragments on a rock wall, 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
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.