Sacsaywaman Ruins

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Sacsaywaman Ruins
Aguas, Peru

This site is located north of the city of Cusco, at an altitude of about 3,555 meters above sea level, between the districts of Cusco and San Sebastian, both of them within the province and department of Cusco. The archeological park covers an area of 3094 Hectares and contains more than 200 archeological sites. Leading to Saqsaywaman there are two paved roads, one starts in the old and traditional neighborhood of San Cristobal and is about 1.5 kilometers long and the other road begins at Avenida Collasuyo and is 4 kilometers long.

There are other footpaths, one that starts from a place called Sapantiana and which begins at the street Choquechaca is 1 kilometer long. The other footpath begins from the district of San Blas and leads to the temple of Kusilluyoq, through an old Inca road that leads to Collasuyo.

This colossal and monumental structure known today as Saqsaywaman, was known as the House of the Sun in the Inca era, and before the arrival of Spaniards in 1535. What captures our attention today is the architectonic structure and the enormous weight of the stones (50 tons each). Most of the smaller stones were taken to build the Christian churches such as the Church of Santo Domingo (over the Temple of Koricancha). Many chroniclers like Garcilaso de la Vega , Murua, Bernabe Cobo, Pedro Pizarro, Sarmiento de Gamboa and Cieza de Leon said that Saqsaywaman was an enormous monument and they all wondered how it could have been built with the limited technology and tools of that time. Some of them, such as Garcilaso said that the fortress had to be built with help of devil spirits.

During the 19th century the fortress was visited by famous travelers like George Squier, Antonio Raymondi and Charles Winner. In 1934 some discoveries were made by Luis Valcarcel who was influenced by the chronicles of Garcilaso de la Vega. Valcarcel discovered the foundation of three rooms and towers in the southern part of the fortress.

During the 1970s, the Archeologist Luis A. Pardo discovered platforms in the areas called Rodadero o Suchuna whose work was sponsored by the Archeological Foundation. Between 1985 and 1986 the National Institute of Culture (INC) made some excavations in a flat area located near el Rodadero in which a great reservoir was found, used for ceremonies called Qapac Qocha, with springs and underground waterways as well as water control boxes, filters and carved rocks and other technological elements which demonstrated the great knowledge the Incas had about hydraulics. The INC is now making excavations in an area where more than 30 tombs were found that include clothes and utensils buried in the inca era.

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