The Cusco Inca Ruins of Sacsayhuaman is the most significant ruin in Cusco, and is close enough to the historic center that you can walk there. Many tourists stop to see it on the way to Pisac. Sacsayhuaman is thought to have both military and religious significance. Cusco Inca Ruins was designed in the shape of a puma, with Sacsayhuaman as the head. Three ramparts of zigzagging defense walls extend for almost 300 meters, forming the teeth of the puma.
The fascination of this ruin is not just its staggering size, but the size of the stones from which it was built, and the complexity of the stonework. Consider that what you see here is only about 20 percent of the original mass — until it was protected in the 1930s, blocks from Sacsayhuaman were being hauled away to use for construction in Cusco.
Most of the largest stones, which were more difficult to move, were left at the site, and form the basic structure. Some of these stones measure more than eight meters high and weigh 361 tons. Despite the massive size of these stones and their often irregular shapes, they are fitted together so perfectly that modern engineers wonder at how the Incas managed such a feat.
A relatively small archaeological site compared to others nearby, Qenqo is particularly interesting and especially puzzling to historians, as its exact uses are unknown. The entire remaining complex was carved out of a single solid rock, including its underground chambers and unusual winding channels.
What these channels were intended to hold — water, blood from sacrifices, or chicha (beer) have been speculated — is unknown, but they zigzag down through the site.
Early accounts from the time of the Incas describe the entire stone site covered in a layer of gold. Two upright stones at the upper area appear to have formed an Intiwatana, similar to the “Hitching Post of the Sun” at Machu Picchu and used for astronomical observations.
Qenqo is about four kilometers from the center of Cusco.
Tambomachay, also known as El Baño del Inca or the “bath of the Inca,” is one of many Cusco ruins located near the outskirts of the city. This stunning archaeological site includes a system of canals and aqueducts flowing into waterfalls fed by natural springs nearby. Its purpose is unknown, but adding it to your list of places to see is a must for history buffs.
Puca Pucara means “red fortress”, because the calcareous stones with which it is built have acquired the reddish coloration of the earth, very abundant in iron.
It is alleged that it had the function of protecting Tambomachay, an important palace in the Inca period. But that in turn, due to its architectural layout and the existence of fountains, aqueducts and multiple enclosures, and its proximity to the old road, which can be seen reaching the gap in the northern mountain and leading to Huchuy Qosqo and Calca in the Sacred Valley. It was a “tambo” that is, a collective refuge that offered lodging and food to travelers, as well as the procession that had to accompany the Inca in his retreat in Tambomachay.
In Puca Pucara there are enclosures, interior plazas, bathrooms, aqueducts, watchtowers and an easily recognizable Inca trail. The buildings are made of medium and small stones, the exterior surface of the polyhedron is slightly rough, unlike other archaeological sites, in short, the urban layout is very adequate and functional.
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