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Archaeological Places in Cuzco

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF SACSAYHUAMAN

4 Km north of Cuzco city. It embraces 3,000 hectares approximately, where a rich Andean flora and extraordinary Inca and Pre-Inca archaeological monuments as Sacsayhuaman, Kencco (or Qenqo), Puca Pucará and Tambomachay. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. and holidays 7:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. Some of these places need payed entrance - see tourist ticket.

 

Sacsayhuaman (Quechua voice Satiate hawk)

Inca architectural masterpiece. Impressive megalithic ruins located in the peak of a hill that dominates the north of the city. The historians of the Spanish conquest attributed it military purposes that then became religious, and finally a place of work. The walls are formed by enormous stone blocks that reach up to 9 m.  height, 5 m. width and 4 m. thickness. The biggest is calculated to have a weight of 125 tons; the visitor will wonder how they have been taken there. The union of the enormous rocks was assembled in a perfect way without use of cement. The main wall is constituted by three successive walls in zigzag, the second and the third superimposed to the first one. The platforms have an average of  360 m. length and communicate by stairs, and access doors. The throne of the Inca is surrounded by rocks in front of the ramparts that dominate the esplanade and the "rodadero" (circular place), located in the same plateau. Sacsayhuamán was scenario of important historical facts, especially during the Spanish conquest. Every year the evocation to the Inti Raymi, is celebrated there.

 

Kencco (or Qenko)

Sanctuary dedicated to the adoration of animals, ruins formed by a rocky place with stairs in zigzag, it has a main building like a circular amphitheater where 19 window sills are located as a way of seats. It is presumed that this place was an adoration place, supporting this presumption the presence of an enormous stone block of 5.9 m. height that has the appearance of a puma. There is labyrinth entrance toward underground galleries, passages, channels, and stairs with signs of a remote culture; these reveal a series of drawings and engravings outstanding the figures of pumas. It is located at 4 Km. of the Main Square of Cuzco city., following the way to Sacsayhuamán.

 

Puca Pucará

Inca archaeological location, located in the peak of a hill, was a military position and an administrative center. For its proximity to Tambomachay, it is believed that it had relationship with its defense, as well as the control of the route to Calca that led to the Antisuyo (Forest county of the Inca). It is a fortification formed by platforms, stairs, passages, turrets, windowsills and a wall that defends the whole construction in a circular shape. It is located at 7 Km. of the Main Square of Cuzco city.

 

Tambomachay

It was an Inca sanctuary dedicated to the cult of the water, and it was a reserved place for the Inca. It is known as the "Baños del Inca" (Inca's spa). Construction of fine lithic finishes and high domain of the hydraulic engineering. It is a group of walls, united by stairs, with springs that fall to a puddle through channels. The fall of water that gets the attention in these ruins part from the terrace of the second wall and the drainage spill on the first where a small puddle is found. The window sills, hole or niches of 2 m. height, was the place from where according to the historians, the Inca and the important people of his court subdue cult to the god Inti (sun) with rites of water. It is located at 8 Km. of the Main Square of Cuzco city.

 

Laqo, Lanlakuyoq and Cusilluchayoq

Pre-Hispanic adoration places, located at 5 Km. east of Cuzco. Representations of felines, monkeys and snakes had been carved in the rocks. It is a particularly interesting place for the followers of occult and spiritual movements.

 

 

Sacred Valley of the Incas

 

Ollantaytambo

This typical Inca town, located 93 Km northeast of Cuzco, in Sacred Valley of the Incas, was so-named in honor of local chieftain Ollanta, who according to legend fell in love with one of the daughters of Inca ruler Pachacutec and was punished for daring to set his sights on royalty. The complex, perched on a hilltop overlooking the town, features buildings such as the Temple of the Sun, the Mañaracay or Royal Chamber, the Incahuatana and the Princess' Baths. The upper section features a fortress made up of a series of carved stone terraces built to protect the valley from possible invasion by warring jungle tribes. One of the best-preserved areas lies north of the Hanan Huacaypata square: an area of 15 blocks of houses built on top of carved stone walls. (Ollantaytambo Photo Gallery)

 

Parque Arqueológico de Pisac (Archaeological Park of Pisac)

This typical Inca town, located 32 Km northeast of Cuzco, in Sacred Valley of the Incas. Inca archaeological locations, constructions in finely assembled refined stone, citadel, turrets, military fortresses, astronomical observatories, etc. Out stands the Inca cemetery, the biggest of America.

 

Moray

This is a strange place. Area located at 53 Km. northwest of Cuzco, highlights an admirable Inca experimental farm, where a natural depression has been transformed in enormous terraces superimposed in concentric form with a shape of a great coliseum, achieving up to 150 meters in difference of height levels. The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and bottom. This large temperature difference was possibly used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. In other words, Moray was perhaps an Inca agricultural experiment station. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a sophisticated irrigation system. (Moray Photo Gallery)

 

Maras

Salinas de Maras: It is a bizarre site. Area located at 60 Km. (37 miles) from Cuzco and 7 Km (4.3 miles) of Moray, where layers of beige and white salt pants are still used to crystallize salt from water. These salt-mines have been used since the Tahuantinsuyo. The people channel the salt water that bubbles to the surface from a spring called Qoripujio towards men-made wells. From the exposure to the sun, the water evaporates and the salt remains on the surface to be transported later to the market to be sold. The view of this complex of nearly 3000 wells is spectacular. The local people happily demonstrate the ancient techniques to visitors, even allowing them to participate in them. (Maras Photo Gallery)

 

 

Southeast of Cuzco - Route Cuzco - Puno

 

Tipon

25 Km / 16 miles southeast of Cuzco (45 minutes by car) on the tarred Cuzco – Puno highway, taking the turnoff near kilometer marker 20,5. According to legends, Tipon is one of the royal gardens that Wiracocha ordered to be built. It is made up of twelve terraces flanked by perfectly polished stonewalls and enormous agricultural terraces, canals, and decorative waterfalls that, along with the native flowers of the area, offers the visitor a stunning vision. The site is composed of different sectors: Tipon itself, Intiwatana, Pukutuyuj and Pucará, Cruz Moqo, the cemetery of Pitopujio, Hatun Wayq´o, among others. (Tipon Photo Gallery)

 

Piquillacta

Inca archaeological area, located at 38 km. (23.6 miles) southeast of Cuzco, remains of a city that occupied an area of 50 hectares, big buildings, some of two floors, embankments, big walls that reach up to 7 m height, aqueducts. Also highlights the great quantity of colcas (deposits of grains), and the style of their construction, with small stones, put together with mud. This location is a place where you can also magnify the reach achieved by the Inca in the architecture and urban organization. The historians attribute to this place a character of military defense and center of supplies, for the big deposits of agricultural products, tools, dresses and war weapons that have been found.

 

Rumicolca

Inca archaeological area, located at 39 km. (24.2 miles) southeast of Cuzco and at 1 km. (0.62 miles) of Piquillacta. It constituted the main and obligatory entrance to Cuzco in the route to the Collasuyo (county of the south, in the Tahuantisuyo), with functions of customs. A great and imposing cover built in carved stone, surrounded with high walls in which inferior vertex a water channel runs, also a great aqueduct that was used to take water to the population of Piquillacta.

 

Raqchi - Wiracocha Temple

117 Km / 73 miles from Cuzco (2 hours by car - Route Cuzco to Puno). Built in the fifteenth century, it is considered by the historians to be one of the most audacious Inca constructions. The remarkable Wiracocha temple, 100 meters (328 feet) long and 20 meters (66 feet) wide is made of adobe walls built on top of volcanic stone foundations. The complex also includes a residential area made for the Inca nobles and dozens of circular warehouses to store food. (Raqchi Photo Gallery)

 

 

Choquequirao

Choquequirao was probably one of the entrance check point to the Vilcabamba region, and also an administrative hub serving political, social and economic functions. Its urban design has followed the symbolic patterns of the imperial capital, with ritual places dedicated to the Sun (Inti) and the ancestors, to the earth, water and other divinities, with mansions for administrators and houses for artisans, warehouses, large dormitories or kallankas and farming terraces belonging to the Inca or the local people. Spreading over 700 meters, the ceremonial area drops as much as 65 meters from the elevated areas to the main square.

 

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