Chankillo Archaeoastronomical Complex, Ancash
This enigmatic archaeological site is considered the oldest astronomical observatory in the Americas. Built over 2,300 years ago, Chankillo's Thirteen Towers line the crest of a ridge, when viewed from one of two observation platforms, the towers span the entire annual rising and setting arcs of the sun, allowing inhabitants to determine the date with an accuracy of one to two days.
Chankillo has suffered deterioration due to its location in a seismic zone and the harsh environmental conditions of the coastal desert of Peru, one of the driest locations in the country. Advocating for greater protections, WMF included Chankillo on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, our biannual program spotlighting at-risk sites, launching a multi-year engagement at the site in collaboration with the Instituto de Investigaciones Arqueológicas (IDARQ).
WMF has provided essential support for conservation on five towers and preventive measures where needed. In June 2021, WMF started research, excavation, documentation, and conservation on one of nine gates at the Fortified Temple on the site.
The international recognition conferred by our work at the site led to Chankillo’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July of 2021.
Cerro Sechín, Ancash
Cerro Sechín is one of the oldest coastal Andean sites in Peru. Early excavations in 1937 uncovered 98 engraved stones dating from 1600 BC which depict combat rituals and human sacrifice. The site is made up of six buildings, and over 300 carved slabs have been uncovered, making it one of the earliest ornamented sites in the Americas.
Due to the absence of conservation since the 1970s, the unique stone slabs are cracked and eroded from exposure and seismic activity. Cerro Sechín was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch, to address the site’s decay. In 2020, WMF supported a proposal for the conservation of the stone slabs, next, we plan to consolidate, clean, stabilize and reintegrate them.
Palacio de la Exposición, Lima
The Palacio de la Exposición, which today houses the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), was designed for the Lima International Exhibition of 1872 and sought to showcase the country’s progress in celebration of 50 years since Peru’s proclamation of independence from Spain. WMF will begin conservation on the museum’s facade, reviving the fluted Ionic columns, Corinthian-style pillars, and plaster moldings representing the arts and industry that pay tribute to the 1872 Exhibition. The project is possible thanks to a commission awarded by the European Union in Peru as part of the Bicentennial celebrations.
Parque de la Exposición, Lima
The Parque de la Exposición, the first exhibition park in Peru, was built in during the nineteenth century, at a time when local and national politicians were looking to publicize Peru’s post-independence prosperity.
At the Parque de la Exposición, WMF's proposal for the park’s redesign will enrich the experience of visitors and restore the park’s original paths and dense vegetation. Today, the Parque de la Exposición serves as an urban recreational and cultural space in Peru’s busy capital.
Sacred Valley of the Incas, Cusco
The Sacred Valley of the Incas envelops a fertile agricultural landscape, punctuated by small villages of Quechua-speaking communities and dotted with the surviving remains of great Inca family estates in Chinchero. A project for a new airport could continue bringing the benefits of international tourism to the region, but not without serious and irreversible impacts on its social and cultural fabric.
The site’s inclusion on the 2020 World Monuments Watch was a call to action to mitigate the impact of an international airport and ensure the just distribution of benefits from tourism-based development.
WMF is working with the site's nominators to address these issues with two approaches: one advocating for the preservation of the cultural landscape and another focused on developing sustainable tourism in the village of Maras.
San Francisco de Asís de Marcapata, Cusco
San Francisco de Asís de Marcapata exemplifies the Andean baroque, a form of architecture that emerged from the intersection of Spanish and local culture during the colonial period. For over four centuries, its thatched roof has been changed every four years in a ceremony involving nine nearby communities in a week-long celebration known as repaje or wasichacuy. This ritual was declared National Intangible Heritage by the Ministry of Culture in 2015.
The church has suffered from natural aging and insufficient resources for its maintenance. The transmission of the repaje skills from generation to generation is also threatened by changing community demographics. Following its inclusion on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, WMF supported preparation of a restoration plan to allow future conservation in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cusco, the parish of Marcapata, and the Regional Cultural Office of Cusco, who will carry out the restoration.
San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas, Cusco
San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas is a magnificent baroque-style church built in adobe with stone foundations. The site has been praised as the “Sistine Chapel of America” because of the beauty and refinement of its mural paintings.
After inclusion on the 2008 World Monuments Watch, WMF restored the choir, main facade, paintings, mudejar ceiling, and magnificent murals. The project included a three-year youth training program designed to promote awareness of cultural heritage conservation. The temple restoration was the starting point in establishing the Andean Baroque Routem now a major tourist attraction.
Huaca de la Luna, La Libertad
Huaca de la Luna was the capital of the Moche culture (50 - 850 AD) and home to one of the most developed societies of the pre-Inca period. It features two enormous platforms connected to four plazas on various levels, some with murals or friezes painted in striking colors. With the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century, this ceremonial site was abandoned and the subsequent four centuries of exposure to the natural elements, lack of maintenance, and vandalism led to deterioration of the adobe structures.
Between 2002 and 2015 WMF supported the comprehensive conservation of the site and a regional tourism agenda, today consolidated as the Moche Route. The balanced excavation, conservation, and interpretation strategies applied at this significant pre-Columbian site have increased sustainable tourism, bringing economic development and job opportunities to the local communities.
Túcume Archaeological Site, Lambayeque
Túcume is composed of 26 magnificent adobe pyramids built by the Lambayeque culture at the beginning of the tenth century. The Huaca Larga stands out among the pyramids as the largest structure with a wide platform featuring ornate mural paintings.
Due to its fragility, between 2006 and 2008, WMF in partnership with Patronato del Valle las Piramides de Lambayeque, stabilized, conserved, and documented Platform II of Huaca Larga. In 2017, as a result of ‘El Niño’ flooding, WMF took emergency action at Huaca I to avert the risk of collapse of the southern facade, rebuilt the temporary structures covering the pyramids, and conserved the storerooms.
Quinta de Presa, Lima
Quinta de Presa is a unique eighteenth-century suburban villa in the late rococo style located on the outskirts of downtown Lima. In 1972, Quinta de Presa was declared a National Cultural Heritage site.
Quinta de Presa was included on the 2012 World Monuments Watch to bring attention to the dilapidated state of this exceptional building and its potential for rehabilitation and development as a community asset.
WMF supported the planning phase for the restoration of Quinta de Presa and developed the technical construction proposal and investment studies. In June 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism through Plan Copesco Nacional announced the upcoming restoration.
Cerro de Oro, Lima
Cerro de Oro, a city made of adobe was buried for hundreds of years holding vestiges of the former populations of Lima, including the Ichsma, Wari, and the Incas. The site features residences, tombs, walls, roads, and canals. Although Cerro de Oro is of comparable significance to better-known archaeological sites, it has been overlooked left and vulnerable putting its magnificent cultural assets at risk. WMF included Cerro de Oro on the 2018 World Monuments Watch.
After inclusion on the Watch, security measures were introduced in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and the District Municipality of San Luis de Cañete which stopped the trespassing, looting and encroachment at the site. Initiatives to enhance the visitor experience culminated in 2020 with the opening of a new interpretation center and a walking trail with informational panels. Through engagement with the local community, WMF also helped launch the first official tours of Cerro de Oro in 2021 led by tourism students from the National University of Cañete.
World Monuments Fund remains committed to addressing the pressing challenges of climate change, imbalanced tourism, and underrepresented heritage through its work safeguarding cultural heritage, while meeting the needs of local stakeholders in Peru.
WMF is grateful for support of these projects from funders including:
Peru: the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Tourism, the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima, DDC Cusco, the European Union in Peru, the U.S. Embassy in Peru, the Peru-France Countervalue Fund, COPESCO, INVERMET, PROLIMA, Patronato del Rimac, the Backus Foundation, Inversiones Centenario, Consorcio Llama-Garrido Burgos, Repsol, Endesa, OHL, Antamina, the Parish of Andahuaylillas, the Parish of Marcapata, SEMPA Association, and CCAIJO
U.S.: the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve our Heritage, the Selz Foundation, the U.S. Department of State’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, Tianaderrah Foundation / Nellie and Robert Gipson, the Butler Conservation Fund, and GRoW @ Annenberg