The Apus in the andes

The apus (Quechua apu, ‘lord’) are mountains that have been inhabited since pre-Inca times in several villages in the Andes (Peru and Bolivia mainly), which are attributed direct influence on the life cycles of the region that dominate. It has a meaning associated to a divinity, in some regions called “Huamani”, to an important personage, or to some of the mountains that according to the pre-Inca tradition of the Andean zone they guarded to the inhabitants of the valleys that were watered by waters coming from their summits. The “Apu” are a species of “huaca” (sanctuary), but in monumental scale associated to a Huamani (province or region). In these tutelary or Apus hills existed structures or platforms where diverse rites were developed specifically in the sanctuaries of height as the Aconcagua, among which are counted human sacrifices called Capac Cocha.

The Apu Huamani regional were characterized by their altitude or by having perpetual snow unlike the local Apu Huamani, hills or hills that stood out over their environment as the hill “San Cristóbal” of Lima and possibly the Apu Kintu (Apoquindo) in Santiago, Chile. Especially in these last ones after the Spanish conquest were introduced Catholic elements, like the Christian cross, to erase the “pagan” ceremonies of the collective imagination.

According to archaeologist Johan Reinhard in his book “The Ice Maiden”, there are at least the following Andean peaks with Inca sites characterized by their height and possibly associated with Huamanis, ordered from North to South:

In Peru:

  • Sara Sara, 5505 masl
  • Coropuna, 6425 meters above sea level
  • Hualca Hualca, 6025 masl
  • Ampato, 6310 masl
  • Huarancate, 5370 masl
  • Chachani, 6075 masl
  • Misti, 5822 mnsm
  • Ausangate, 6372msnm

In Chile and Argentina:

  • Esmeralda, 950 masl
  • Paniri, 5946 masl
  • Licancabur, 5921 masl
  • Chañi, 5896 masl
  • Quehuar, 6130 meters above sea level
  • Llullaillaco, 6739 masl
  • Chuscha, 5512 masl
  • Copiapo, 6052 masl
  • El Toro, 6380 masl
  • Cerro Las Tórtolas 6160 meters above sea level
  • Aconcagua, 6960 masl
  • El Plomo, 5430 meters above sea level