In ancient Peru, a huaca was the term granted to a river, a tree or a mountain attributed with magical powers if the spot was inhabited by a deity or an ancestor; along the coast the term was given to stepped pyramid-shaped temples.
In Lima, the process of urbanization, thanks to the efforts of archaeologists and crusades launched by residents, has left untouched dozens of ancient temples, archaeological sites which stand out against the bustling metropolis.
In the heart of the leafy district of San Isidro stands the Huallamarca complex. In the ancient Quechua language, hualla means uneven, and marca means town. The name of this huaca stems from the fact that the early remains of the structure showed remains of spiral ramps. In 1999, archaeologists found clay goblets dating back to Inca times. The fact they were buried there possibly points to the presence of the tomb of an important figure from the era.
What links the most important temples in Lima is the fact young archaeologists continue to work on them and integrate them into the community.
One example is the Huaca Pucllana in the Miraflores neighborhood, today a historical and cultural park. The complex was a ceremonial and administrative center run by the Lima culture (400 AD), which controlled the Lima Valley. There is evidence of religious ceremonies, rites and sacrifices in honor of their deities, and possibly this was where the high priests lived. The Pucllana Historical Park features an on-site museum and areas of research, conservation and restoration, as well as cultural promotion. The museum is working to integrate the site into the community starting with schoolchildren, in a bid to create an awareness of the importance of Peru's archaeological and natural heritage.