Sacsayhuaman: Northern Zone II

In my previous post about the hill known as Suchuna, I mentioned the finely carved seats or benches that the Incas could have used as altars.

Now you will see this extraordinary work done by the Incas. Last week, we were about to go up the “tourist” stairway on our way to the top of the hill.

Why did the Incas take so much time in order to build this stone work? The answer is still a mystery and it will probably remain that way forever, but it is for certain that they had a strong faith in what they were doing.

The priest´s seat and the niche

Pic of Sacsayhuaman from the niche at Suchuna

This is 7 Repisas or Shelves according to the cusqueño scholar José Altamirano Vallenas who believes it was another altar.

As a matter of fact, the Spanish chronicler Polo de Ondegardo wrote that there were many shrines around this area and this could have been one of them.

7 Repisas and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman

7 Repisas from south to north

On your way to the hilltop, you will find the Trono del Inca which is a rock outcrop beautifully carved with sacred steps. It could have been an altar or an astronomical observatory.

Two niches pointed to the East

Even though I have been many times on the hilltop, I have never noticed this kind of hole carved on the rock until I read José Altamirano´s book “Saqsaywaman: Síntesis de la Cultura Andina“.

In his book, the scholar says that this could have been the cauldron for the sacred fire.

Cauldron for Sacred Fire

As I told you before, this whole area is known as Suchuna or Rodadero and the reason is the well-worn grooves now used by people (not only children but also adults) as a rock slide.

In Inca times it could have been used as a quarry.

Rodadero or Slide

To the north of Rodadero, there is much finely carved stone work and a series of corridors and tunnels.

Carved stone atop a corridor that leads to the cemetery

Rock outcrop with sacred steps

Once I heard that this carved stone was the stairway that joined the underworld to the sky.

Around this boulder there is an amphitheater-like site (last pic) and archaeologists have found some mummies there so it is known as the cemetery.

Stairway to heaven

Amphitheater-like cemetery

In case you visit Sacsayhuaman with a guide, it is very likely this is the farthest you will get. But there is much more, and I will show you next week.

By the way, there are local guides at both Sacsayhuaman entrances. A tour takes about 40 minutes and the cost varies from 20 to 35 soles total…depending on your look!

A taxi to the site costs S/10 one way.

You can hike up to Sacsaywaman from central Cusco, and then hike back down again.

In case you drive your own car, there are two access points:
1. Take the Circunvalación Highway to Pisaq.
2. From main square take Calle Saphi and then go up to San Cristobal church and finally Llaullipata.

Related Posts:

New findings at Sacsayhuaman

Feast of Warachicuy in Cusco

Sacsayhuaman unexpected pics

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About Peru En RoUte

Natural-born backpack traveller around Peru
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