The pre-inca Chachapoya fortress

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Kuelap, also spelled Kuélap, Cuélap and Cuelap.

The so called fortress of Kuelap is at a height of around 3000 metres above sea level on a platform of limestone (see picture to the left).  The length of the construction is about 600 metres and the walls are up to 19 metres high in places. There are a series of walls at different levels, and within these are around 400 stone constructions.  The majority of these are cylindrical and mostly only their bases remain. You can see a picture of a reconstructed circular building on the right hand side of this page.

The Chachapoya culture of which this is a part, probaly date back to the 7th or 8th century, but it is not know at what time the Kuelap fortress was built.

This "lost city" became better known when in 1843 Juan Crisosotomo Nieto who was the judge of Chachapoyas explored the area, guided by local people who had of course always known about the site.

It is not certain what the function of Kuelap was, although it is often called a fortress. According to Adolf Bandelier and Louis Langlois, it was possibly a place of refuge.  Another theory is that pre-inca aristocracy lived here and controlled the agricultural production of the area.

I plan to add as much information and as many resource links to this page as possible.

In the meantime you can:

 - try a search for Kuelap on Google, my preferred search engine
 - look through the excellent Open Directory Project listings
 - check my Assorted links to Kuelap and Chachapoyas page.
 - do a Google image search for Kuelap


E-mail: richard@chachapoyas.info
All pictures copyright Richard Dobson 2001 - 2008

Click on Photo for a larger picture

Kuelap fortress
View from main path towards Kuelap fortress

Entrance to walled city
Entrance to the ancient walled city

reconstructed stone building
Reconstructed stone building