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Inca Gold: Natural Link to the Past in Cajamarca, Peru

Inca  Gold

Mysteries about hidden gold abound in almost every country. Peru is no exception. For more than 400 years, people have puzzled over the location of the lost Inca gold of the Llanganates Mountains. The Inca regarded gold as a sacred metal, not as a valuable commodity. They believed gold to come from the sun and moon, elements held most sacred. The Spanish invaders sought gold for its monetary value and were amazed at the amount of golden artifacts, jewelry and architectural embellishments in Inca temples and settlements.

When Francisco Pizarro entered Cajamarca in 1532, his envoy was hospitably greeted by the Inca king Atahualpa. Pizarro captured the king and imprisoned him in his own palace. A ransom of enough gold to fill the room where he was kept prisoner and enough silver to fill two adjacent rooms was promised by the king for his release. The Inca began delivering cartloads of gold and silver objects taken from temples throughout their kingdom to fulfill the terms of the ransom.

Atahualpa continued to rule his people from captivity. When the Spanish observed the loyalty of the people to the king, they became concerned and decided that the king must be executed, violating the promise to free him upon delivery of the ransom. While on his way to Cajamarca with a convoy carrying Inca gold, Incan General Rumiñahui was informed of the treacherous betrayal of the agreement. He diverted the convoy into the deep jungles of the Llanganates Mountains and hid the objects.

Llaganates Mountains

An account by Juan Valverde, a Spanish soldier who eventually settled in the area, narrates being shown the location of the treasure by local people. He removed a few pieces and took them to Spain, where he described the treasure’s location. Expeditions sent to relocate it failed to find it. Since that time, adventurers have attempted to penetrate the dense jungle to discover the hoard. Since 1533, the treasure has not been found.

Guests of La Costanera Restaurant will find modern treasures in the attractively presented Peruvian food at this acclaimed eatery. Chef Carlos Altamirano translates the rich heritage of Peru, his native country, into modern expressions of traditional flavors. This Peruvian restaurant located near San Francisco is noted for its fresh seafood, vibrant sauces and delectable desserts.

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