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 was built by the Inca emperor Huayna Capac for mostly religious and political purposes. The city then was called Tomebamba. Pumapungo is the largest Inca ruins south of Ingapirca. Here you will find foundation walls of many buildings (including a palace and a residence of a prominent leader), cemeteries and walkways. Interestingly, the materials used for the buildings were mostly volcanic rocks. The destruction of Tomebamba happened before the arrival of the Spanish, and the locals used many of the ruin stones for their homes and churches leaving these once magnificent structures in shambles.
There is no admission fee to the grounds, and we found that the park was open even though the museum was closed making for a pleasant 2-hour outdoor stroll.
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