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Kuelap Fortress largest stone ruin site in world

By Catholic Online
September 21st, 2010
Catholic Online (

The Kuelap Fortress, a mountaintop city found in Chachapoyas, Peru rivals any ruins in the new world and comes with living quarters for thousands of residents. The Kuelap's stone wall fortification reaches 60 feet high running in circumference to the city.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Kuelap is considered the largest stone ruin site in the New World. The structure is composed of massive stone blocks nearly ten times the volume of the blocks used in the Giza Pyramid.

In addition, Kuélap consists of massive exterior stone walls containing more than four hundred buildings. Situated on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley in northern Peru, the fortress is roughly 600 meters in length and 110 meters in width. It's believed to have been built to defend against the Huari or other hostile peoples. Archaeological evidence shows that the structure was built around 500 AD and occupied until the mid 1500s.

Nearby, the ruins can be found "purunmachus" or stone tombs built in the shape of people that would have housed the mummified remains of Chachapoyas royalty.

Judging from its sheer size, Kuelap's construction required considerable effort, rivaling or surpassing other archaeological structures in the Americas in size.

There are multiple levels or platforms within the complex. Because of its extension, these flat elevations support about 400 constructions, most of them cylindrical. From them, only bases remain. In some cases, there are decorated walls with friezes of symbolic content that, in general, seem to evoke eyes and birds that take the form of a letter V in a chain.

There are three structures that stand out from the hundreds of others within the complex. First there is El Tintero, it is placed in the south end of the biggest anden and it is characterized for being a circular turret in the shape of an inverted cone, a real challenge to the laws of gravity; secondly is La Atalaya, it is also shaped by a turret, and it is located in the north end of Kuelap; and finally, El Castillo, it is a construction that is located in the most conspicuous sector of Kuelap and it stands out on the top anden.

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