Cusco Surroundings, Sacsayhuaman

The Sacsayhuaman is located near to Cuzco city. It embraces 3,000 hectares approximately, where a rich Andean flora is found and with abundant fauna, highlighting the presence of llamas, kestrels and hawks.

Sacsayhuaman in the Quechua language means "satisfied falcon", it was this "falcon" that guarded the capital of the empire, since it was possible to overlook all of Cusco from the hill where it was built. It is known that Cusco was designed into the shape of a lying down puma. Thus, Sacsayhuaman would be the puma's head.

Sacsayhuaman is usually described as a fortress because it is practically enclosed by three slopes. However, the fact that the Incas constructed a fortress in that place is unusual, since at the moment of its construction they did not face major threats. Its shape and location would have responded to other principles, such as the harmony between architecture and landscape. Current investigations suggest that it must have been a temple devoted to the worship of the Sun, for which both the construction and the surrounding landscape were important.

The main wall is formed by stones that reach the 5 meters of height and 2.5 meters of width and that can weight between 90 and 125 metric tons. Moving these stones was a real feat, as well as the perfect adjustment among them and the attention given to the bosses' curvature.

Its major characteristic is the form in which it was constructed; with large blocks of rock, reaching as high as 9 meters that were transported 7 kilometers to this location. It is known that its construction took approximately 50 years beginning in the Inka Yupanqui era.

Sacsayhuaman is also noted for an extensive system of underground passages known as chincanas which connect the fortress to other Inca ruins within Cuzco. Several people have died after becoming lost while seeking a supposed treasure buried along the passages. This has led the city of Cuzco to block off the main entrance to the chincanas in Sacsayhuaman.


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