Sacsayhuaman is an archeological complex located 2 km north of the main square of the city of Cusco. It is situated at 3700m.a.s.l. It´s the highest part of the city of Cusco; in order to reach Sacsayhuaman you can take a City Tour from any travel agency. You can also go on foot, by taxi or using your own vehicle. In order to reach Sacsayhuaman on foot from Plaza de Armas, you can go up Suecia street, take Huaynapata street, then follow Resbalosa street; turn right after San Cristobal church and follow the highway. Here, you will join the old Inca road to Sacsayhuaman. The climb is steep and takes about 30 minutes.
Sacsayhuaman was built between the XIVth and XVth century. The work lasted more than 5 decades and required the effort of 20000 men that were joined in the form of a tribute (mita- community work in favor of the state). All of its structures were located without any need for them to cease to be part of the place where they stand, integrating deeply and harmoniously the then sacred landscape, obtain a colossal shrine to nature. The rock was cut with the approximate dimensions in the quarry and then it was carried with ropes on the sides and a kind of wheel made with logs underneath; the stone was carried by hundreds of men to the place it was meant to be and where they gave it the definitive carving.
The complex itself has important natural and architectural parts, which have their own meanings and stories, including:
They are called Muyuccmarca, Paucarmarca, Sallaqmarca and they are situated on the top of the bastions (zigzag walls). In Inca times they were towers arranged in a straight line at the top of the hill; this place had plenty of water, even today we can still see part of the aqueducts.
Muyucmarca comes from Quechua language: "Muyuq" means round, “Marca”= population. On its rediscovered bases one can appreciate a circular figure which has 3 concentric circles, all of them inserted in a square of unequal sides
Paucarmarca:the south side of Sayaqmarca, is covered with earth, could possibly be square shaped, etymologically "Pauca" means: lively, beautiful, cheerful, garden and "Brand" population. It is believed to have been dedicated to the stars
Sallaqmarca:Located next to Muyuccmarca, etymologically "Sallaq" means: rough, rocky, "Marca" means: population. Currently there are only the foundations of the towers, the buildings were destroyed in the early days of the colony, their foundations covered with earth, and later located and recovered by Dr. Luis E. Valcárcel.
Group of enclosures:
This group of compounds is located at the top of the hill, to the south and within walking distance of the towers. They are beautiful rooms supported on the hill overlooking the city and squares. The rooms themselves have the characteristic of being long and narrow interconnected by a series of trapezoidal doors. Its walls are made of irregular polyhedrons, with steep sides and edges highly polished.
They call “Bastions” the 3 platforms that form a tooth-type of inlets and projections formed by walls made of blocks of limestone, impressive irregular polyhedrons assembled to perfection. The first Spanish construction attributed the building to demons, even today they say that aliens are those who made this work. These defenses are considered a marvel worldwide.
Located in the center of the bastions, of trapezoidal shape, they served as entry to the area of the towers. The three doors referred to are: T'iopunku, Ajawanapunku, Wiracochapunku.
Slide or Suchuna:
Geologically it is a natural formation of diorite, of volcanic origin, that emerged modulating on its surface warps and grooves in the manner of slides.
The Throne of the Inca or K'usillucJink'ian:
These words can be translated to "where the monkey climbs." It is a succession of seats carved into the rock with a deep aesthetic sense; it is located in the eastern portion of the hill.
There are 2, the smallest one, along with Warmi K´acchana is of short length and has become a distraction for visitors. The large one is further north, under a large limestone rock. The passage to big Chicana is not allowed for any reason, as the ones who entered haven´t returned. According to the geologist Dr. Carlos Kalafatovich, these tunnels, called Chincanas, are the result of the erosion of groundwater that circulated in the caves. However, chroniclers like Guaman Poman de Ayala, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega among others agree that the large Chincana is a secret tunnel with several connections to different parts of Tahuantinsuyo. The story says a group of adventurers equipped themselves and entered this Chincana; nothing was known about them for months until one day one of them showed up in the temple of Santo Domingo, that was formerly Qorikancha, holding in his hand a corn cob made of solid gold. It is said that during the wars, the Incas could not stop worshipping their gods; for this reason, through these subterranean accesses they went to the Qorikancha to attend the ceremonies and deliver the offerings to their deities.
“Sacsayhuaman” is a Quechua word that etymologically means: “Saqsay”=”Saciarse” and “Huaman”=”Halcon”, which means “The place where the hawk is satiated”. The fortress of Sacsayhuaman was the biggest architectural work realized by the Incas. The construction was carried out by 3 important rulers. It began during the government of Inca Pachacutec (the ninth Inca) and later was continued by his son Tupac Inca Yupanqui and it was finished by Huayna Capac around the XVth century.
Sacsayhuaman was the most important military fort of the Empire, compared for its greatness with the Roman Colosseum. It was the northern access point to the city of Cusco. In this fort the Incas stored their weapons and were prepared for any threat of invasion. The legend says that here took place one of the greatest battles between the “Chancas” that came from the area of the current department of Ayacucho and the “Incas”. The battle lasted for several days, with the Incas being triumphant.
Historically, in the pampas of Sacsayhuaman, the “Inti Raymi” takes place, or the “Party of the Sun”. Every 24th of June, at the winter solstice, the Inca offers a sacrifice to the Sun God “Inti”. The ceremony has lasted through the years and to this day it is practiced in Cusco.
The entry times to Sacsayhuaman are: Monday-Sunday 7:00a.m.-6:00p.m.
Cost: Entry included in Tourist Ticket.
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