Pucará Del Salitre - Cotopaxi 1/2
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Pucará Del Salitre or the Pucará of Salitre is located in Cotopaxi, Latacunga, exactly in the parish of Mulaló, inside the National Park Cotopaxi, Ecuador.
PHOTO CREDIT: gonzahino / panoramio

Very close to Limpiopungo lagoon, in direction to the Pita River, you can visit the Pucará of Salitre, built on the top of a hill, with slopes and steep grades that were changed by its builders to create terraced spaces and concentric spaces.

The Pucará Del Salitre is an old military strategic indigenous fortress of the Inca Empire. Its purpose, as the majority of pucaras found throughout the Andean alley, was to be used as military observatories and serve for monitoring.


At that time it was planned to control the passage of armies, resistance groups and migration within the conquered territories in the current Ecuador. That is why the Pucará of the Salitre is built on an elevated area: to the observation of these human groups.


It’s undeniable the Inca origin, at least in the majority of the building; the 70% of the archaeological material recovered has a filiation with the Inca empire, that’s why is considered it was built during the expansion of Tahuantinsuyo, at the end of the 15th century. The remaining 30 percent of the material is of local origin and is attributed to the work of the Panzaleos.


The Pucará Del Salitre is part of a set of defensive buildings, erected in the context of the Inca invasion to keep an eye on the local group’s domination. It is located in a strategic area that communicates to the North of the territory with Quito, to the South with the Tambo Real of El Callo and to the East with the Amazonia.

The interior of the Pucará consists of a wall covered with land along the external wall. 15 Housing structures were built in the interior space, the majority of them with circular structure. The second terrace of the Pucará Del Salitre corresponds to the central upper space and is surrounded by a stone wall of ellipsoidal shape; also in this space are a gateway to the North and another to the South, and 4 residential structures.

The exterior of the Pucará has a defensive hole cut into two parts that give rise to the doors. The interior space of this terrace had 15 housing structures mentioned above. The front of the terraces has a defensive wall or muyuypirka, elaborated with unworked stones, 3 or 4 meters high which rise at the edge of the terrace in the slope for the protection of defenders.

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