There are 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru. The list consists of 8 cultural sites, 2 natural sites, and 2 mixed sites. The latest addition to the list is the Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System, which was added in 2014.
Peru UNESCO Sites
Chan Chan Archaeological Zone (1986)
The Chan Chan Archaeological Zone that is listed as a cultural site under the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru encompasses the ruins of the great abandoned city of Chan Chan. This city was the capital of the Chimu Kingdom that ruled during the 1100 to 1470 AD. Chan Chan is also the largest city of pre-Columbian America.
The archaeological zone, which covers 14 square miles in land area, contains the ruins of this great city. Since the area gets very minimal amount of rainfall each year, it is in a fairly good state of preservation. Many of the structures in the ruined city is made adobe brick and then finished with mud. Within the city, you will find many types of structures including pyramidal temples, citadels, reservoirs, cemeteries and gardens.
Chavin (Archaeological Site) (1985)
This archaeological site in Peru was established in the 1,500 to 500 BC. It is located in the highlands of Peru, specifically in Cordillera Blanca, which is north of Lima. Chavin is one of the earliest civilizations to come out of the pre-Columbian era. The site was named after Chavin de Huantar, which is the center for the region’s economic, social and political activity. It was recognized into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru in 1985.
City of Cuzco (1983)
Cuzco is another ancient city that is of cultural and historical importance to Peru. It is considered as the Imperial City of the Incas. It is located at an altitude of over 3,000 meters within the heart of Sacred Valley. It was the Incas who built this ancient city and was the Inca Empire’s capital for two centuries. Since this city was important to the Inca civilization, many of the important temples and idols were located in this city. A majestic wall was also built around the city to signify its power. To this day, Cuzco remains as one of the most important South American cities and is a favorite among tourists who enjoy cultural attractions.
Historic Centre of Lima (1988)
In 1988, the historic center of Lima was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru. In 1991, there were extensions that were added to the site covered within this world heritage property. As the capital of the country, Lima is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The historic center offers tourists plenty of things to explore and see.
The Balconies of Lima is one of them. This is a series of 1,600 balconies that were built during the viceroyalty era. These balconies provide a sense of originality and harmony to the city. In order to aid in the conservation process, the government has encouraged individuals and companies to adopt a balcony. Other principal monuments in Lima’s historic center include the Archbishop Palace, Museum of Italian Art, House of Aliaga, House of Pilatos, House of Oidor, and the Goyeneche House.
Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa (2000)
Known as “The White City”, Arequipa is a city that quickly reminds you of an old Spanish city. It is one of Peru’s best architectural treasures since the time of the colonial period. It has many preserved architectural buildings that range from convents to temples. The city of also made up of several elegant houses. There are many factors that contribute to the amazing state of preservation to the city’s architecture: isolation, the tectonic movements due to earthquakes, its desert area location, the ashlar and the spirit of its people.
It earned its nickname ‘The White City’ because of the predominantly white buildings, houses and structures. These buildings are made of white ashlar, which is a type of volcanic stone. These were the choice of building materials in the city during the earlier days because it is known to last a long time and easy to handle.
Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa (1994)
Added in 1994, the lines and geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa is one of the cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru. This prehistoric, archaeological site is considered as one of the world’s most important geoglyphs due to its long period of development, diversity and size. In fact, they are considered as one of the best artistic achievements of pre-Hispanic South America.
The lines can be found in Peru’s arid coastal plains. The artworks depict a wide range of figures and symbols, including animals. These lines and geoglyphs were dated to have spanned three chronological phases starting in 500 BC until 500 AD.
Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System (2014)
This massive transport network spans through various parts of South America. For this reason, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru in 2014. This transport system was built by the Incas in order to facilitate in their communication and trade activities during the time of the civilization’s heyday. This very same innovation was also crucial to the development of the South American civilization during the 15th and 16th cehturies. This vast network covers 6 countries in South America: Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia.
Sacred City of Caral-Supe (2009)
The Scared City of Caral-Supe is an important cultural site in the Supa Valley. This city is the capital of the Norte Chico Civilization, which is the earliest known civilization in the continent. Archaeologists use radiocarbon analysis to determine that this civilization has existed since the late Archaic period. Today, a visit to the sacred city will provide glimpse of how the ancient civilization lived in the form of small villages that thrived on agriculture and fishing. There are 19 settlements found within the site that include public buildings, plazas and dwellings.
Huascarán National Park (1985)
This natural site was designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1985. The park itself was established 10 years prior that comprises the Cordillera Blanca Range in Peru. This mountain range is the highest tropical mountain range in the world. The world heritage property spans about 340 hectares in land area and is currently being managed by the Peruvian Network of Protected Natural Areas. This national park is famous for its harbor and mountaineering spots. In addition, it is protected in order to preserve its unique biodiversity of plant and wildlife species.
Manú National Park (1987)
This is another national park and natural site in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru. Inscribed in 1987, this park measures at 17,162 square kilometers in land area. Aside from being a UNESCO site, it is also a biosphere reserve. The national park was recognized by UNESCO as it protects diverse ecosystems within the park premises that include cloud forests, Andean grasslands and lowland rainforests, along with the species that inhabit these ecosystems.
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (1983)
The remains of the Inca civilization in Machu Picchu is probably the most recognizable relic from this ancient civilization. Machu Picchu is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. About 1 million tourists visit the Machu Picchu in Peru each year, or about 5,000 tourists per day during the peak season.
Machu Picchu is also the most renowned archaeological site from the Incas. It was established in the 15th century and is located over 2,300 meters above sea level. The city is built on the saddle of two mountains: Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. It is inscribed by UNESCO under the mixed site category. While Machu Picchu holds an outstanding cultural value to the Inca civilization, it is also considered of natural importance.
Río Abiseo National Park (1990)
Another mixed site in this list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru, the Rio Abiseo National Park is located in San Martin. The national park is home to a wide range of flora and fauna species. Hence, it was recognized of natural importance to Peru. At the same time, it is also home to more than 30 archaeological sites that date back to the pre-Columbian era in Peru. Hence, it is both valued for its natural and archaeological significance.