The Museo Pumapungo at the Banco Central in Cuenca

The Museo Pumapungo is large as life!  Located in Cuenca’s Banco Central complex, colorfully animated dioramas illustrate the varied cultures in Ecuador.  These displays cover an entire floor and show life-sized examples from the coast, highlands and jungle.  One exhibit features shrunken heads.

Other Pumapungo (“gate of the puma”) exhibits include photographs of early Cuenca life and a historical perspective on Ecuadorian currency.  A special section shows this first 80 years of bank history.  For a limited time, there is also an impressive exhibit called Oro y Plata.  Many pieces of gold, silver and copper artifacts, created by indigenous people throughout Ecuadorian history, are showcased.

To the dismay of one half of Two Who Trek, the museum does not allow photographs inside the building.  But here is a shot of the exterior:

Exterior of the main museum at Pumapungo.

Exterior of the main museum at Pumapungo

Fountain with the Incan ruins entrance behind.

Fountain with the Incan ruins entrance behind.

Surrounding the museum complex on one side are ruins of Tomebamba, the Inca city located in what is now Cuenca.  The Spanish conquistadors removed most of the stone to build Cuenca but enough remains to envision this sizable complex.

A map of the Inca ruins at Pumapungo, in the heart of Cuenca, Ecuador

A map of the Inca ruins at Pumapungo, in the heart of Cuenca, Ecuador

Inca ruins on the upper level of Pumapungo

Inca ruins on the upper level of Pumapungo

Inca foundations on the upper level of Museo Pumapungo in the heart of Cuenca

Inca foundations on the upper level of Museo Pumapungo in the heart of Cuenca

Inca ruins at Pumapungo, in the heart of Cuenca, Ecuador

Inca ruins at Pumapungo, in the heart of Cuenca, Ecuador

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo

The newer portion of Cuenca, as seen from the old ruins

The newer portion of Cuenca, as seen from the old ruins

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo, featuring the observatory

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo, featuring the spiritual center

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo, showing storage areas, or the home of the Virgins

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo, showing storage areas, or the home of the Virgins

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo, with a recreation of a storage building.

The upper level (on top of the terraces) of Pumapungo, with a re-creation of a storage building.

Terraces at Pumapungo, as seen from the garden

Terraces at Pumapungo, as seen from the garden

The terraces at Pumapungo, with the canal in the foreground.

The terraces at Pumapungo, with the canal in the foreground.

The 800 meter canal at Pumapungo, with a weed-whacker going in the background.

The 800 meter canal at Pumapungo, with a weed-whacker going in the background.

The Baños at Pumapungo

The Baños at Pumapungo

The site of the Palace, with a high school (white) and the Banco Central (gray) in the background.

The site of the Palace, with a high school (white) and the Banco Central (gray) in the background.

Gardens illustrate Inca flora so well we forgot we were in the middle of the city of Cuenca.

The garden, containing many native Ecuadorian food crops, as seen from the upper level.

The garden, containing many native Ecuadorian food crops, as seen from the upper level.

Map of the garden area of Pumapungo

Map of the garden area of Pumapungo

A stone stairway in the gardens at Pumapungo

A stone stairway in the gardens at Pumapungo

Tending the crops in the gardens

The aviary houses birds of different feathers, native to the country.

A colorful parrot at the aviary.

A colorful parrot at the aviary.

A not-so-good view of the plants surrounding the aviary.

A not-so-good view of the plants surrounding the aviary.

Although no guinea pigs were seen, eight resident llamas graze on the grounds.  They give added authenticity to the scene.

It wouldn't be an archeological site in Ecuador without llamas

It wouldn’t be an archeological site in Ecuador without llamas

Our rather comprehensive tour over two afternoons, was time well spent!

Categories: andean, archeological, blog, canaris, Cuenca, ecuador, inca, photos, ruins, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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