|The Castillo de Lamas peeks out of Peru’s jungle. (All photos by Tony Dunnell)|
By Tony Dunnell
Lamas, the folkloric capital in Peru’s jungle province of San Martin, sits up on a hill about 13 miles from Tarapoto. It’s an interesting town, divided into stepped levels that mirror the colonial impact of the Spanish Conquest. The top of the hill was claimed by the Conquistadors while the lower section, the Barrio Wayku, was reserved for the native inhabitants, the Pocras and the Hanan Chancas. Today, the Barrio Wayku is the beating heart of this officially declared Capital Folklórica de la Región.
The top of the hill has a new addition, one that seems to provoke a number of reactions upon first viewing. Children generally point and say “wow” before scampering off towards it. Adults, meanwhile, may well raise an eyebrow before approaching with some reservations. And there it is, a few blocks up from the Plaza de Armas, a towering medieval European castle, the Castillo de Lamas. It’s big, it’s tall, it’s… different.→