The Fortress of Kuelap was constructed by Chachapoyas, an ancient civilization that flourished from 9th to 15th century AD in present-day northern Peru and particularly within Andean cloud forests of Amazonas Department. Their culture became famed for their distinctive architectural style, advanced craftsmanship and impressive fortifications; indeed their name "Chachapoyas" means "warriors of the clouds" in Quechua which speaks of their ability to navigate and thrive among mist-covered mountains.

Fortress of Kuelap: The Machu Picchu of the North of Peru

Kuelap is revered as "Machu Picchu of Peru's North," an exquisite archaeological site which stands as an impressive testament to ancient Chachapoyas civilization. Situated within Amazonas Department in northern Peru, it sits high atop a mountaintop offering spectacular panoramic views over lush valleys and towering peaks in all directions.

Kuelap is widely recognized for its massive stone walls, intricate architectural design and cultural significance. It served as a stronghold, ceremonial center and residential community for Chachapoyas people and offers an extraordinary glimpse into their lives and achievements of centuries past. This exceptional site provides visitors with an incredible journey back through time and provides them with an extraordinary journey back into history.


The history of the Fortress of Kuelap spans several centuries and is closely tied to the rise and fall of the Chachapoyas civilization.

  • Pre-Columbian Era:

Chachapoyas Civilization Arose In Northern Peru Around the 9th Century AD The Chachapoyas people settled into Andean Cloud Forests of Amazonas Department where they established an advanced society known for architectural skill, sophisticated craftsmanship and distinctive culture.

Kuelap was begun around 6th century AD and took several centuries to complete, rising on a mountaintop strategically positioned for defensive reasons and with scenic vistas surrounding it. Construction methods employed, such as fitting large limestone blocks without using mortar, showcased Chachapoyas engineering skills.

  • Chachapoyas Culture Prospers:

From the 11th to 13th centuries, Chachapoyas civilization flourished at its greatest extent. Kuelap was an essential hub of politics, religion and economic activity; home to an abundant population and providing space for artistic and cultural expression.

Interactions With Other Cultures: The Chachapoyas enjoyed trade relations and cultural exchanges with their neighboring civilizations, including the Inca Empire. At the same time, however, they staunchly protected their independence and autonomy by resisting incursions by Inca armies into their territories.

Inca Conquest: Beginning in the late 15th century, under Emperor Tupac Yupanqui, the Inca Empire launched an invasion campaign against Chachapoyas territory. Although resistance proved fierce at first, eventually their forces succeeded in subsuming Chachapoyas territory into their empire.

Spanish Conquest: Following the 16th-century arrival of Spanish conquistadors, Chachapoyas people faced further upheaval. With European diseases being introduced along with brutalities of colonization by Spain, populations and cultures declined drastically and ultimately assimilation into dominant Spanish colonial societies was completed.

Rediscovery and Archaeological Investigations: Kuelap was forgotten for centuries until its rediscovery during the 19th century. Later, formal archaeological investigations of this site began in order to shed light on its rich history and cultural significance in relation to Chachapoyas civilization.

Preservation and Tourism: Recently, comprehensive efforts have been undertaken to restore and showcase the Fortress of Kuelap. A cable car system provides easy access to this historic site, drawing an increasing number of tourists curious to discover its archaeological wonders.

The Chachapoyas built Kuelap between 500-800AD. Hundreds of specialists supervised the architect's team. There were stonemasons, warriors, and carriers for water, stone, and mud. There was also a team of farmers whose production was only used to feed workers.

It was re-discovered in 1843 and discovered by one of the judges of Chachapoyas (Juan Crisostomo Nieto). Once, he visited fields (1841). During this visit, he saw strange stone walls on a large part of the land. He discovered this on his second visit when once again, villagers told him (1843) about these strange walls.


It is the political center of the Chachapoyas civilization, and the city has more than 300 000 inhabitants. It is located in the Amazonas region of Northern Peru on top of mountains. Mountains are full of vegetation, clefts, and mountain streams. It's more a fortress than a city. Fortress (due to high exterior walls (10-20cm)) at an altitude of 9 thousand 800 and 50ft. It is 2000ft long. It is rectangular and built on a limestone base on 15 acres. It is a three-dimension surface visible from a specific set of points. It is a kind of forest covered with clouds that seems to be an undiscovered place.

Fortress of Kuelap

Importance of location

The location of Kuelap is very important. Due to its complex structure and precise location, it served as a fortress to protect against invasions from other tribes in the area. From some areas, it may look like undiscovered ruins in the wood. So it receives more tourists each year.

Why do people pay attention to Kuelap?

This walled city consists of 400 old buildings built 1500 years ago. It highlights the manners and values of ancient civilizations in some way.

According to the report, there are almost 129 visitors per day on Kuelap. So it is a much crowdie place. Not much is artificially constructed. So visitors can feel nature. It is located on a mountain peak—many good views from there. There are mountains full of vegetation and streams. It was built 600- 900 years before Machu Picchu. So, it is considered one of South America's oldest and most historic structures and almost worldwide. It is a very delightful place not only from a tourist point of view but very significant from a religious perspective. Even the area has more religious significance, so today, it is considered a fortified city or refuge,  with covers for rain and bad weather every five hundred(500) meters or so.

The journey alone there is also an adventure. It is called the warrior of clouds. It is located 3000 meters from the sea. Time and time again, visitors enjoy the view of the cloud forest surrounding that area.

Visitors are also amazed by the huge walls built to protect the area. Height reaches almost six stories. As it is theoretically a fortress, the entrance only leaves room for one person to enter at a time.

Kuelap Fortress

There are good transport facilities. Cable cars are a unique and intrusting feature for visitors to experience because it is located at high altitude(impressive view of the surrounding forest). Enjoying nature(visitors pass through layers of clouds giving wonderful views before and after) with facilities is amazing.

There are many important structures there reflect old civilization. Few are the Main temple, the circular platform, and the castle.

The temple is one of the most important sacred centers in Kuelap. It symbolizes sacrifices and complex rituals involving the placement of human bone inside a receptacle creating kid ossuary.

The platform of this place initially functions as a link to the main temple, as a home of a temple caretaker.

The castle is a rectangular-shaped structure. It is very important not only from a tourist perspective but also from a religious point of view. It is the home of an important religious leader for the people of Kuelap. So, people have a very strong connection with this place.

Kuelap Fortress

There were many other important structures, like the grave of the Inca of the Ali Sur village. Callanca, the Torreon etc. A considerable number of people mostly visit these places. This place is also very famous for its natural beauty and beautifully built buildings, providing a chance to view nature closely. This is the masterpiece of old civilization.


It is the political center of the Chachapoyas civilization, and the city has more than 300 000 inhabitants. It is located in the Amazonas region of Northern Peru on top of mountains. It is located on a mountain peak—many good views from there. There are mountains full of vegetation and streams. It was built 600- 900 years before Machu Picchu. So, it is considered one of the oldest historical structures in South America and almost worldwide. Now it is the center of attention for tourism almost worldwide. People are attracted to this—almost all the natural views, not artificiality. Now many transport facilities are there. Clouds cover the forest. It cannot be seen everywhere.

This place also resembles the idea of being away from the artificial world. Human beings are there with their pure feelings away from the harsh realities of life and people as well.


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