The Pukara de Quitor National Monument overlooks the fertile Río San Pedro valley from atop a strategic bluff. Its serpentine rows of thick, stone walls have defended the verdant oasis's bounty since around 1100 AD. Today, the fortress's impressive architecture and historic significance bring in another sort of wealth, visitors eager to see what are among Chile's most important ruins.
Little is known about the Ayllu de Quitor people who originally constructed the fortress, which was used to defend the agricultural town from the Incas and later, Spaniards. Their handiwork is impressive, however, and makes a fine place to contemplate life in the fierce Atacama Altiplano.