The closest archaeological site to Lima is Pachacamac, a pre-Inca collection of sand-blasted pyramid temples and palaces spanning 1,500 years. Over the centuries the now-ruined city developed into one of the Inca’s most important religious and administrative centers.
Though all that remains is largely the rubble of walls and stepped foundations rising from the surrounding dusty desert, there are excavations and reconstructions to see, including a rebuilt Inca complex called House of the Chosen Women.
The site was inhabited by the Huari people prior to 800 AD, and later by the Inca, who built their Temple to the sun on the main square. Itshma was the name given to the state surrounding Pachacamac and the religious ceremonial temples built to honor the coastal deity, Pacha Camac.
The site was inhabited until 1533, when it was destroyed by Spanish conquistador Pizarro.
The on-site museum helps explain the significance of Pachacamac’s ceremonial temples, and displays artifacts unearthed at the site.
Pachacamac is a 45-minute trip by bus from Lima, 40km (25 miles) away to the north.