Able’s suggestion is that we visit the ancient ruins of the Pachacamac religious center near Lima. It is a place I have heard of, but know nothing about, thus I am shocked by the scale of this partially excavated site.
It reminds me a lot of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. There is something about it’s bleakness and the look of the sweeping expanse of empty landscape that is similar, not to mention similar problems with encroaching slums.
Although used and expanded upon by the Inca, most of the site pre-dates the Inca by several cultures, with the oldest going back to the Wari period of A.D. 500-900. Among other things, the ancientness of this site means it is comprised largely of mud brick walls finished with stone (and then plaster), rather than the massive, intricately cut and set stonework of Incan sites like those of Sacsayhuaman or Machu Picchu.
The first is labeled “Pyramid with Ramp” and the sign tells us it included buried deposits, enclosed spaces, storage rooms probably used for both public rituals and administrative duties.
The temple faces the sea. It included terraces and platforms and niches that may have been used for offerings. Originally covered in red plaster, it was a grand building where valuable offerings – including human sacrifices – were given to the gods.