Vilcashuamán, Temple of the Sacred Falcon

Many years ago, when Wiracocha was still the maker of the universe and the Apus were the ones who decided the fate of men, two warlike states fought for the domination of the Andes and the right to leave the name of their civilization in the pages of history.

Both rivals, Incas and Chancas, similar in resources and technology, fought as once did, in turn, Romans and Carthaginians to prevail in the Mediterranean. Much blood was shed and several cities were destroyed, and only the genius, of the now eternal, Inca Pachacútec defined the victory of the Incas. In his honor, and as a sign of his power over the defeated enemy, the Inca people decided to build a beautiful ‘llacta’, a sacred city from which all conquered territory would be controlled, it was named Vilcashuamán, and had the form of a hawk, because that meant his name: the city of the ‘Sacred Hawk’.

One of the most important buildings of the city was the Temple of the Sun, in honor to the main god of the Inca’s pantheon and father of all of them. This temple was the religious center of Vilcashuamán and the home of their priests who ignored, and ignored even for three more generations, the existence of a deity that would impose over the Andes, brought by cruel warriors mounted on huge, protected beasts with armor that shined like the sun itself and capable of wrecking bodies and killing dozens of people with arms that made sounds similar to the thunder of the skies.

Vilcashuamán was destroyed by the spaniards, its falcon figure was erased so that there is no memory of the old ‘llacta’, and the ruins of its main Temple were used as simple foundation for the new catholic church of San Juan Bautista to state clearly and forever the dominion and superiority of the christian God over any other that existed before in these lands.

The Church of San Juan Bautista in the town of Vilcashuamán (Ayacucho, Peru) is at the present a beautiful sample of Peruvian mixed and rich culture. The beauty of this construction transcends the simplicity of its forms, and the austerity of its ship, to express itself its great rhistorical significance. Visiting it has been an extremely emotional experience for me.

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