The Penis Temple of Peru is a fun and phallic hoax

Get Your Leg Pulled at the Peruvian Penis Temple

Get Your Leg Pulled at the Peruvian Penis Temple

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
April 1 2014 7:48 AM

The Real Fake Fertility Temple of Chucuito, Peru

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Don't ask too many questions about the phalluses. That's the main thing to keep in mind when visiting the Inca Uyo, a Peruvian temple whose yard is full full of penis-shaped "ruins."

Local guides will tell you that Incan women once flocked to the site in order to engage in fertility-boosting rituals, such as sitting on one of the stones and being doused in corn beer by a priest. They are almost certainly pulling your leg.


The temple itself, located in Chucuito just south of Puno, is hundreds of years old. But the phalluses are a much more recent addition to its yard. The stones were found in storage sheds, yards, and houses around the town. Their origin and function are unknown, and though they are ancient, it's highly unlikely they were ever placed to resemble rows of phalluses in the temple. Similarly shaped cylindrical stones can be found at Machu Picchu, but they are not arranged vertically.

In 2006, local restaurateur Juan Luis Nuñez Geldres told the New York Times that he came up with the idea of moving the stones to the Inca Uyo to create a "fertility temple" as a joke while drunk one night. However, Enrique Morro, formerly of the National Institute of Culture, claims he himself transported them there and arranged them in an approximation of how the site might have once looked.

The residents of Chucuito may have created their own myth for the sake of tourism, but don't expect the tour guides to admit to it. The penis temple of Puno has taken on a life and alternate history of its own.

Further phallic findings:

View Temple de la fertilité in a larger map

Ella Morton is a writer working on The Atlas Obscura, a book about global wonders, curiosities, and esoterica adapted from Atlas Obscura. Follow her on Twitter.