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Archaelogical Complex of Sacsaywaman

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(2km. North-East of the city of Cusco or 5 minutes by car in the direction of pisac (Sacred Valley of the incas).Visits: every day from 7:00 am. to 6:00 pm).

 

Sacsaywaman is the archaelogical complex with the largest surface within the urban limits of the ancient incan Cusco.The walls which are its main feature are oriented towards the east and none of the constructions built by the incas share architectural characteristics with that of Sacsaywaman, if only they would have its size.

 

In reality,this place would have been a construction with a religious purpose,but due to its locatiob and style,it was considered by the spaniards and their chroniders,as a military construction.There probaly was the location of the most important of hanan Qosqo or upper Cusco, dedicated to the Andean cosmology and to the worship of inti (sun),quilla (moon),chaskakuna (stars),illapa(lightning)and other divinities.It is qualifed as cyclopean given the size of its stones used to erect three sets of walls which surround the elevation over the esplanade,some of which weigh between about 90 and 128 tons.

 

Every 24th of june, Sacsaywaman is the scene of the Inti Raymi or Celebration to the sun. These festivilites are described in chronicles by the inca Garcilaso de la Vega who gives information that goes fron the sistement that there are areas in which is located a solar clock and/or that it is an astronomical observatory. There were three towers on its upper part and the best known was called "Mayumarka". At present, its use is unknown and one can only appreciate its foundations (some call it the puma's eye). Not all evidences of buildings present in that sector have been uncovered and therefore,there were other constructions to the north of the 3 towers. Less than a decade ago,were excavated the foundations of other buildings of a fine make,similar and even superior in quality to that of the temple of the Qorikancha, which is another unmistakable proof of the function Sacsaywaman had in the state's religious cult and political power.

 

Sacsaywaman's function also allows the formulation of hypotheses, as the possibility of its supposed defensive ends arose little after the spanich anvasion, given the use that was made of it during the incan resistance against the invaders. The great 1536 rebellion took place in Sacsaywaman, with thousands of warriors, converting it into the general headquarters from which Cusco's siege was directed. The great esplanade, between the zigzagging walls, became a battle field, with one to one dual fighting between incas and auxiliary natives; mainly cañaris and Huancas who fought alongside with the Spaniards and Manco Inca, as the inca, directed operations bearing weapons of war.

 

It was in the chronicles that narrarte these deeds that Sacsaywaman started to be called "fortress" and so,arises that denomination which,in an erroneous way, gained preference in the majority of modern descriptions.Sacsaywaman is situated in an area of great rock outcrops and amog them there are the inca's throne, the observatory, the silde and other areas with similar denominations.There also are underground passages and remains of constructions that, according to the popular tradition, unite Sacsaywaman with the Qorikancha and the Cathedral. But, judging it by its features, what the historians suggest is that Sacsaywaman a religious purpose and use archeological place.

 

In the incan tradition,an open space was more sacred than constructions and Sacsaywaman was that immense space dedicated to worship,which explains the systematic destruction  the spaniards undertook of the great ceremonial complex.

 

Furthermore,the stones from the constructions were throwm down into the saphy Gorge,where they  were cut to be used in the constructions of the cathedral and other catholic churches that were erected on the nain square and in the center of the colonial city of Cusco. Since 1944, each month of june, Sacsaywaman converts itself into a grandiose stage that convokes thousands of the Inti Raymi or celebration to the sun, also described by the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

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