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Puka pukara

Red Fortress


Puka Pukara Archeological Site

The archeological remains of Pukapukara are located on the superior part of the highway between Cusco and Pisac, around 6 km north of the city of Cusco. In order to reach Pukapukara you can take a city tour of any travel agency (almost all of them offer this service). If you visit Tambomachay, you can walk to Puka Pukara, since it is only 1 km away.


Puka Pukara is a Quechua word that means “red fortress”, because the setting sun changes the color of the rocks to red. The traditional information show that, when the Inca was about to visit the Baths of Tambomachay, the formidable group of soldiers, dancers and others stayed in Puka Pukara, that represented the quarters and “tambo” (resting place). It is said that “la chincana” (cave located in Sacsayhuaman) connected Puka Pukara with Tambomachay, which hasn´t been proved.

puka pukara cusco


Puka Pukara had specific military purposes, it was the entry checkpoint to the city of Cusco, “The capital of the Empire”, but it also served as “tambo” (resting place) for the chaskis that carried messages or parcels from town to town. On the hillside they stored dehydrated products; thanks to the strong winds, the products could be stored for longer in a kind of refrigerator.


In Puka Pukara there are interior squares, bathrooms, aqueducts and a very well-preserved ancient road. The buildings are made of small-to-medium stones, the surface of the rocks is very rugged, compared to other archeological centers. The urban layout is adequate and functional.

In this center they built 3 walls with irregular floors, divided in 3 levels; the first wall had a winding path that carefully avoids cutting the outgoing rocks. To the north and behind the outer wall, you can find six rooms of different sizes, which are built in an irregular way so as not to touch the rocks that create the wall. The second wall surrounds the central elevation. Between this and the first one there are very ample platforms that face south and east.


Monday to Sunday: from 7:00 to 18:00 Price: Free admission on the Tourist Ticket. (It is forbidden to be sold separately).


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