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The Windows of Otuzco in Cajamarca

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The Windows of Otuzco in Cajamarca

Just 8 kilometers from the city of Cajamarca, in the Baños del Inca district, is the famous archaeological site Las Ventanillas de Otuzco. Dating back to the first centuries of our era, this pre-Inca necropolis stands out in the middle of the nature of the northern area of the mountains of Peru and has become one of the most attractive tourist sites in the department of Cajamarca. 

The Ventanillas de Otuzco are a set of funerary buildings that are located at 2,650 meters above sea level. They have a particular architecture that presents hundreds of windows and individual funerary niches similar to windows, drilled in rock of volcanic origin that reach between 8 and 10 meters deep. Its entrances are rectangular or quadrangular, with a height of 50 to 60 centimeters. 

This archaeological site would be a cemetery belonging to the Cajamarca culture (200 AD -800 AD), the same one that had the ritual of burying their dead in niches excavated in rock at the top of the ravines in the area. 

Regarding burials, the deceased were first buried in the ground, and after some time, some bones and skulls were deposited in the niches carved in the rocks of Otuzco, possibly for veneration purposes. For this reason, it is believed that these crypts were used for a second burial, since no complete skeletons have been found. 

Among its most important characteristics, it stands out that these holes lead to a corridor that connects to the heart of the rock mass where there are more niches, mostly simple, although there are also multiple niches that constitute passageways with lateral niches. 

As a legend, it is said that through some windows you can enter dark and mysterious galleries, whose unattainable end inspired the imagination of man in the creation of secret passageways that would unite Cajamarca with the department of Cusco. 

Preserved since 1993 by the National Institute of Culture, the Windows of Otuzco have 337 niches or windows. The archaeological site is surrounded by vegetation such as prickly pears and pencas, located on a rugged terrace, representing a preserved ecology and very attractive for tourism. 

The Windows of Otuzco were investigated and described for the first time by Julio César Tello, who is considered the 'Father of Peruvian Archaeology'. Among the most important findings is a human burial, belonging to a boy of approximately 12 years of age, who was found in a fetal position, without any metallic or ceramic evidence. For reasons of security and conservation, using special burial techniques, it was extracted from the niche, subsequently submitting it to its respective study. 

Visiting the Windows of Otuzco

Normally the climate in the district of Baños del Inca varies between semi-dry, temperate and semi-cold, with an average maximum temperature of 22 °C and a minimum of 5 °C. The ideal season to visit the Ventanillas de Otuzco is from May to September, which corresponds to a time of year with little rain. 

To get to the Ventanillas de Otuzco you can take a public transport unit or a private tour of the Plaza de Armas of Cajamarca, the trip by car takes approximately 15 minutes from the city center.

What are Otuzco Windows?

The windows are square and rectangular concavities, carved in low relief on a rocky surface of volcanic origin (consisting of trachytic and phenolic lava). 

History of Otuzco Windows:

The Cajamarca culture was influential between 300 and 800 AD. These crypts were probably used for a second burial, since no complete bone remains were found. Apparently the deceased were first buried in the ground, after some time, some bones and skulls were deposited in the niches carved in the rocks for veneration purposes. 

Construction of the Otuzco Windows

These rectangular and square crypts or niches were carved in trachyte rock - stonework, superimposed one on top of the other, which are protected by gutters so that the water flows in the rainy season. 

The niches and galleries are 8 to 10 meters deep and each burial cavity is 50 or 60 cm. high that originally must have had stone tombstones with symbolic figures in relief, a conclusion that is given due to some fragments found in the crypts and some ceremonies.

Tourism in Otuzco Windows

The Windows of Otuzco, also called the Otuzco Necropolis, are funerary buildings that, due to their shape, seem to be windows, hence their name of Windows. These are located in the populated center of Otuzco, in the district of Cajamarca (8 kilometers away), in the province and department of the same name; located on the Llanguil hill. At a height of 2850 meters above sea level and would have been built in the first centuries of our era. It is considered Cultural Heritage of Peru. 

It is a cemetery built, like the Combayo Windows, by the Cajamarca Culture. At an architectural level, it is possible to observe the work of excavations that have been carried out in living rock (trachyte rock) in the cliffs of the hill itself and that, like its counterpart building on the San Cristóbal hill, is divided into superimposed rows. of niches. These niches, in turn, are presented in two ways: simple, where only a quadrangular or rectangular structure is observed; and in the form of galleries, that is, niches connected from the inside, with each other. It is worth mentioning that in this construction the presence of gutters is also observed, these would be present for the purpose of conservation of the niches since they would prevent, through their drainage purpose, that the humidity caused by the standing water from the rains would greatly damage the building.

The cavity of the niches is approximately 50 to 60 centimeters, although the connected sets have a total depth of between 8 and 10 meters. It is believed that at an ornamental level they may have originally had a tombstone with the presence of reliefs, although the work of the niches itself already represents excellent craftsmanship. 

It is believed that the remains found in this necropolis had been previously exhumed and moved, since the bone remains observed in the excavations give evidence of having been previously cleaned. Sites like this, would have meant for the Cajamarca culture, not only a funerary place, but also a ritual, a symbol of their cult of the dead and ancestors. 

In order for the visitor to reach the Otuzco Windows, they must leave from the City of Cajamarca to the place for a period of 15 minutes by bus, there is also the possibility of cycling to the site, enjoying the view of the road even more. The entrance to the place is upon payment of a ticket, whose cost is s/3.50 for adults and s/1.50 for students. And visiting hours are from 8 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon.

Where is located the Otuzco Windows?

It is located near the town of Otuzco, in the district of Baños del Inca, 8 km northwest of the city of Cajamarca, the site is located on volcanic rock and has an area of 4,000 meters. 

Altitude:

It has an altitude of 2850 m.a.s.l. 

Visiting Hours:

The entrance hours to this necropolis are: 

From Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Entrance Fees:

  • Adults (Foreigners or Nationals) s/. 5.00
  • Students (Higher Education) s/. 2.00
  • Schoolchildren s/. 1.00

Peru preserves the greatness of the children of the sun, keeping unimaginable secrets, touring the country and getting to know the different cultures, ways of life of the inhabitants and of course the wonderful landscapes will be a trip full of adventure and personal satisfaction.

Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.

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