Sacsayhuaman

“Los españoles que la ven dicen que ni el puente de Segovia, ni otro de los edificios que hicieron Hércules ni los Romanos no son cosa tan digna de verse como esto. La ciudad de Tarragona tiene algunas obras en sus murallas hechas por este estilo, pero no tan fuerte ni de piedras tan grandes.”
Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, Spanish chronicler.

"Sacsayhuaman"

The Inca Garcilaso called it Sacsahuaman, not Sacsayhuamán as today

Let us explore Sacsayhuamán. First of all, you could hear this site was a fortress, and certainly my history book taught me so at school. There were, however, two 16th-century chroniclers who wrote that Sacsayhuamán was a temple to the Sun.

The Inca Garcilaso de la Vega in his Comentarios Reales says that only noble soldiers could live here as it was a Sun´s house:

“…tenían muchos aposentos para los soldados nobles, que los de otras naciones no podían entrar en la fortaleza, porque era casa del Sol, de armas y de guerra, como lo era el templo de oración y sacrificios.”

He repeats the same when talking about the fourth feast (Book VII, chapter VI):

“…salía de la fortaleza y no del templo del Sol, porque decían que era mensajero de guerra y no de paz; que la fortaleza era casa del Sol para tratar en ella cosas de guerra y armas, y el templo (Qorikancha) era su morada para tratar en ellla de paz y amistad.”

"Sacsayhuaman"

Martín de Murúa: “…y en este tiempo solo sirve de testigo de su ruina.”

Pedro de Cieza de León in his El Señorio de los Incas  chapter LI states that the Inca Yupanqui built Sacsayhuamán better than the Qorikancha, the most famous temple to the Sun, and put in here everything:

“Inca Yupanqui determinó que se hiciere otra casa del Sol que sobrepase el edificio a lo hecho hasta allí…y así en un cerro que está a la parte Norte de la ciudad…se fabricó esta fuerza que los naturales llamaron Casa del Sol y los nuestros nombran Fortaleza”.

Martín de Murúa declares it was used at first as a Sun´s house in his Historia de los Reyes Incas del Perú: “Fue dedicada al principio para Casa del Sol”

As a matter of fact, the first Spanish conquistadors named it a fortress due to its location on a hill in the northern outskirts that overlooks the very city of Cusco, the dozens of rooms used for storage of provisions and water, and the huge stone blocks.

"Sacsayhuaman"

Inca Pachacutec started this stronghold

These stone blocks form three ramparts of castlelike walls or bastions that run parallel, and they were constructed in a zigzag shape. Garcilaso as well as Cieza de León say more than twenty thousand people labored on this massive structure for more than fifty years hauling the immense stone blocks. Moreover, it was not completed when the Spanish arrived in Cusco.

Three kind of stones have been found in this site: two that belong to the very spot (limestone and diorite) and the third kind, black andesite, brought nine and twenty-two miles from Cusco. The Incas had to lift and put one stone above another by trial and error till both stone blocks  fit together:

“para ajustarlas tanto era necesario levantar y asentar una piedra sobre otra muchas veces”.

And even though you could hear that they did not use any kind of mortar, Garcilaso affirms they used a sticky liquid from a kind of donkey:

“no echaban cal y arena, pero echaban por mezcla una lechada de un burro colorado que hay, muy pegajoso, para que hinchase y llenare las picaduras que al labrar la piedra se hacían.”

You can climb each rampart through huge trapezoidal doors, and there is also a walkway to the top of the site. As you hike this walkway, guides will tell you the names of the three doors which Garcilaso had already written them down in his Comentarios Reales:

“A la primera llamaron Tiupuncu, que quiere decir: puerta del arenal, porque aquel llano es algo arenoso, de arena de hormigón: llaman tiu al arenal y a la arena, y puncu quiere decir puerta. A la segunda llamaron Acahuana Puncu, porque el maestro mayor que la hizo se llamaba Acahuana. La tercera se llamó Viracocha Puncu, consagrada a su dios Viracocha”.

"Sacsayhuaman"

Each rampart had a main trapezoidal door

If you get Sacsayhuamán hiking the ancient Inca path, you will find another huge door that Garcilaso did not mention, but it is known nowadays as Rumipuncu or stone door though nobody knows why it has that particular name as all doors were made of stone. It looks to the East, and this area was cleaned in 1968.

"Sacsayhuaman"

Rumipuncu was the main entrance to Sacsayhuaman hiking the ancient inca road

Garcilaso adds that each door had a stone the same shape as the entrance that could be lifted (bascule door):

“…cada puerta tenía una piedra levadiza del ancho y alto de la puerta con que la cerraban.”

According to archaeological evidence, it seems that the overwhelming stronghold of Sacsayhuamán was not only a military complex but also a great sanctuary and ceremonial center.

This whole sector is the most impressive by far. Nonetheless, there are other areas to the north that are worth a sightseeing. Soon!

How to get there?

"Sacsayhuaman"

A channel to drain or to communicate better from bastion to the other?

You may want to read these posts too:

Q´enqo the hike

Pukapukara

Tambomachay

Advertisements

About Peru En RoUte

Natural-born backpack traveller around Peru
This entry was posted in Cusco and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sacsayhuaman

  1. Pingback: Qollqanpata & Planetarium in Cusco | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  2. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: When It Was Built | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  3. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: Northern Zone III | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  4. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: All You Should Know | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  5. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: Northern Zone I | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  6. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: Unexpected Pics | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  7. Pingback: Cusco City: Shape of Puma? | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  8. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: A Wonder of the Incas | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

  9. Pingback: Sacsayhuaman: Forbidden Hot Spots I | PERU EN ROUTE. Enjoy Peru. Share Peru.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s