When I first saw the castle I was both impressed and bemused. It was early in the morning and the gates were firmly shut. Walking around outside the castle walls, it was hard not to admire the craftsmanship and the sheer eccentricity of the thing. The problem, at least for me, was the castle’s appearance when seen from a few blocks away. It loomed over the folkloric capital, a towering culture clash in the midst of historic Lamas. Confused yet intrigued, I left to look for some breakfast (a juane, or anything else wrapped in a big green leaf).
Return to the Castillo de Lamas
Three months later I traveled back to Lamas with the sole intention of having a look inside the Castillo. I knew that the place was popular with the locals, both in Lamas and in Tarapoto, and I was fully aware that my European sensibilities may have been giving me a different outlook upon the whole thing. I wanted to know what exactly the castle was all about. The gates were open and the sign outside read El Encuentro de Dos Mundos — The Meeting of Two Worlds. Indeed, that is the point of the Castillo de Lamas.
The castle is an educational experience, primarily focused upon arts and crafts, both European and local. Inside you will find local Lamista ceramics with detailed information about the traditional design and construction process. As you wander along the castle causeways and up and down the tower stairwells, you begin to realize that great effort has been made to highlight the artistic heritage of Lamas. And then comes the “meeting of two worlds” in an artistic sense – impressive reproductions of famous European masterworks. I stood watching and chatting to a talented young Peruvian artist, Geenss Anchentti Flores, as he worked on a reproduction of Edmund Blair Leighton’s “The Accolade.” He and other artists have done a fine job with the castle’s paintings and sculptures, works that provide an interesting counterpoint to the local art on display (the giant horse head sculpture is particularly striking).
Lamas Castle: Travel Between Two Worlds
So, what exactly is the Castillo de Lamas? It certainly provides a fair dose of fantasy and fun, but at the same time it functions as a museum of sorts, a gallery and a cultural center. Work on the interior is still in progress; it looks as if a restaurant and bar are being planned while other rooms lie vacant in expectation, perhaps, of new displays. Whatever your opinion may be of the castle’s exterior and its place within the folkloric capital, the Castillo de Lamas is certainly worth a visit and provides great value for the five-sole entry fee. Oh, and did I mention the panoramic views from the top? Stunning.
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