The Sacred City of Caral, the oldest city in the Americas that has changed the history of Peru and the world since its discovery in 1994, is now open as a prime destination and archaeological treasure for tourists who visit Lima. As a result of the work done by the Proyecto Especial Arqueólogico Caral-Supe (Caral-Supe Special Archaeological Project), the Sacred City of Caral is now open for tourists and will continue to undergo a series of restorations that will provide an added value to the existing and future tourist circuits in the region.
The Sacred City of Caral, built over 5,000 years ago, is not only the oldest city in the Americas but also third overall after Mesopotamia and Egypt, followed by China and India. This historical treasure, located in the Supe Valley, is just two hours north of Lima and easily accessible by the Pan-American Highway. Although Machu Picchu, located in Cusco, has gained considerably more attention around the world as the capital of the Inca Empire, many do not know that the Sacred City of Caral was the first political state formed in Peru 4,400 years prior to the Incas.
The Caral civilization was ruled by a hierarchical system with differences in rank and position in society; this is evidenced in the unequal distribution of wealth and occupational roles. Tourists who visit the area will be able to see how this system influenced the Caral way of life when they tour the residential and public housing areas, pyramids, sunken circular plazas, temples, altars, and more.
Due to the civilization’s organizational structure, they were able to flourish in specialties such as astronomy, medicine, engineering, trade, music, textiles and basket weaving. Agricultural cultivations were also an important part of the Caral daily life. Coloured cotton was the Caral product of choice for trade especially when it came to anchovies and shellfish arriving from Aspero, the first fishing town in the Americas, one of 19 contemporary settlements of this civilization. Other contemporary settlements to Caral are Kotosh in Huánuco and Piruro in the Marañon Valley; Huaricoto and La Galgada in the Santa Valley; Las Haldas in the Casma Valley; El Para’so in the Chillon Valley; Bandurria in Huacho and Culebras near to the Culebras Valley.
The Sacred City of Caral receives visitors from all over the world. Caral received 7,338 visitors in 2003, 15,265 visitors in 2004 and 21,068 visitors in 2005. With the support of PromPerœ, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.