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El Shincal: the southernmost capital of the Inca Empire

El Shincal is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It is located in the city of
Catamarca
Shincal es uno de los sitios arqueológicos más importantes del país.
25 September, 2019

El Shincal is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It is located in the city of London, department Belén, province of Catamarca, just 5 km from the square of this small and ancient Catamarque city.

London is the first city founded by the Spaniards in the present province. And the second Argentine city, founded after Santiago del Estero.

Isolated houses among fifths of fruit trees adorn London, known as ‘Cradle of the Nut’. This villa has two urban centres: from top to bottom, each with square and church. Its dense history is based on the Diaguita population that housed in the neighboring Shincal Creek. This was one of the first areas explored in Argentina by the Spanish conquering expedition departing from Cusco.

The Inca city

The Shincal of Quimivil was an administrative city in the Inca state. Declared a National Historical Monument in 1997. This site had an important activity within the state and its chief was a curaca, rank of hierarchy among the rulers.

This archaeological site is a stone monument that has guarded a part of the history of our native peoples. Archaeologists recognized Shincal as a Guamani (provincial head) of Tawantinsuyo (Inca State) between 1380 AD and 1600 AD. It occupies an area of 23 hectares, populated by more than one hundred buildings built of stone and clay.

The central sector, apparently, was destined for large administrative buildings known as Kallankas (five rectangular structures of carved stone), Qollqas (circular enclosures used for storage), and an Aukaipata (central public square). In the center of the square stands a stage of pyramidal shape 16 meters sideways and 2 meters high, called Ushnu. The Ushnu, or ceremonial platform, is the largest known so far, from Lake Titicacá to the south.

It also has a troop barracks and two terraced hills of 12 meters high which are accessed by steps built in stone. The one to the east was a solar temple.

In the peripheral neighborhoods there are rectangular “kanchas” used as dwellings. Stone-paved stretches of the Inca Trail and a superb stone aqueduct cross the town centre.

Inca Legacy

The Incas entered Argentine territory in 1470. The Calchaqui diaguitas, who lived in the northwest, were quickly dominated and integrated into the Inca system. The legacy is 180 archaeological sites in the country that have vestiges of its presence.

They formed a powerful empire five centuries ago, always on the Andes mountain range.

Shincal, like every people in the empire, was connected by cobbled roads built by the Incas (Qhapacñan). Through them, you can go to other cities or places that formed the Inca state.

The Shincal is the archaeological site with the highest number of services today. Recently restored and inaugurated, it has a reception booth for visitors, an interpretation and storage center, bathrooms and bathrooms for people with different capacities, a lounge where to eat, trails and rest spaces and a permanent guide service.

Shincal

Source: T

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