Museum with Shrunken Heads Exhibit
Most people in Cuenca know of the Pumapungo Museum as the museum with the shrunken heads. But did you know that they have a “backyard”? A backyard of an incredible archaeological site, a garden, and an aviary.
The word Pumapungo means “Door of the Puma. ” And, in the late 15th century this village was built by the Inca emperor Huayna Capac for mostly religious and political purposes. At that time, the city then was called Tomebamba. Moreover, Pumapungo is the largest Inca ruins south of Ingapirca. Here you will find foundation walls of many buildings. These buildings include a palace, a residence of a prominent leader, cemeteries, and walkways. Interestingly, the materials used for the buildings were mostly volcanic rocks. Therefore, the destruction of Tomebamba happened before the arrival of the Spanish. Consequently, the locals used many of the ruin stones for their homes and churches leaving these once magnificent structures in shambles.
Especially relevant is that there is no admission fee to the museum or the grounds. The museum is not open on Sunday, but the park grounds are. An afternoon at the ruins makes for a pleasant 2-hour outdoor stroll.
Another great thing to do in Cuenca is to visit the Aboriginal Cultural Museum.