Palacio de El Callo - Cotopaxi 1/2
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El Callo Palace is located in the province of Cotopaxi, in Latacunga. The Palace is located in the parish of Mulaló. This Palace is also known as Tambo Real de San Agustín Del Callo where the Inca construction is part of the present manor house, transformed into tourist place.
PHOTO CREDIT: kalipedia

The word "Tambo", from the kichwa language, means place of lodging or rest. It is the place where the Inca, his family and the most important characters of the administration of the Empire rested. These new conquerors traveled around the new territory after the wars with local communities to control, govern and establish the Inca imperial regime in the villages. The tambos were generally distributed every 25 or 30 Km. along the Capac Ñan.


The Capac Ñan, meaning in quechua: road of the Lord, was the trail and main axis of the road system of the Inca Empire towards the conquered territories in the North as in the South, interconnected with the administrative center: Cusco, the imperial capital of the Inca conquerors.


El Callo Palace is part of the tambos distributed along the Inca Trail. The site was probably built by Huayna Capac in the year 1500, during the territorial expansion of the Empire.


In 1440 the walls were modified for the fist time for the Incas. It’s assumed the walls were the foundations of a temple or pre-Inca Palace that was adjusted and molded for the construction of the Tambo real by the conquerors of the Inca Empire. When the Spaniards arrived, demanded to integrate the new Farm with the Inca building without destroying it completely, so the current hacienda has a mixture of Inca and colonial decoration.


In Palacio de El Callo some rooms are preserved with its original construction and you can visit it. As part of the farm house of San Agustín de El Callo, located on the slopes of the volcano Cotopaxi, the visitor will find bases of the Inca Palace and part of the rooms fused to the House in the colonial era.


The building has clear traits of Inca architecture since it was built with rectangular carved stone blocks joint among themselves. The stone is black and comes mostly from the eruptions of Cotopaxi volcano. The Tambo El Callo was distributed in four rectangular rooms located around a central courtyard.

In addition the doors were trapezoidal and complemented by a lintel of a single stone. Cameras or rooms inside have preserved niches (false windows), also of trapezoidal form, where objects of adoration and worship were placed.

If you want to visit this historical and archaeological place nowadays transformed into a tourism hacienda, you should take the Pan-American South Highway to the province of Cotopaxi, located 77 Km South of Quito.

To go to this place you must take the detour in the kilometer 67 of the Panamericana Sur, and from there go to the Hacienda San Agustín del Callo, in which manor house are preserved the ruins of this building, 5 km away from the road. The reference point is the entrance to the Cotopaxi National Park, an hour and a half from Quito in vehicle.


The main entrance to Cotopaxi National Park is few kilometers before the village of Lasso. From Quito, the best option is to go by the new Simon Bolivar Avenue that pass around Tambillo and then you have to take the Pan-American highway in south direction, to the specified detour.

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