27 September 2017
Sacsayhuamán (3600 masl) is an archaeological center located to the north of the main square of Cuzco, 1 km. of the colonial chruch of San Cristóbal and 2 kms. of the Plaza de Armas. The aspect that presents today is very different from the one left by the conquerors, because this fortress was used as a quarry to build the colonial Cusco. In Sacsayhuamán, every June 24, the Inti Raymi ceremony, an ancestral celebration in honor of the sun god, is recreated.
Its construction took more than seven decades and required the strength of about 20,000 men, both in the work of the foundations as in the quarries, the transport of materials, the work and the placement of the stones.
Spectacular fortress built with huge carved rocks, united with absolute precision. Together with Machu Picchu and Choquequirao is undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural works of Tahuantinsuyo. But, moreover, it represents the undoubted constancy of the administrative capacity of the empire and its powerful logistic apparatus.
His Quechua name means “satisfied hawk.” Therefore, it was the falcon that guarded the capital of the empire, since from the hill in which it was erected dominates the whole city. If, as is known, Cusco was designed in the form of a lying puma, Sacsayhuamán would become its head, while the Koricancha would correspond to the genitalia of the feline.
It is said that the work was started by Pachacutec and continued by Tupac Yupanqui, although some chroniclers point out that it was Huayna Capac who gave the final touch. The Inca Garcilaso de la Vega says that Apu Huallpa Rimachi was the principal architect, and that Maricanhi, Inca Acahuana and Calla Cunchuy, took control of the works successively.
The main wall consists of stones that can measure up to 5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide, and which can weigh between 90 and 125 metric tons. Moving these stones was a real feat, but so was the perfect fit between them, as well as the care taken in the curvature of the cushions.
From Sacsayhuamán you get a spectacular view of the City of Cusco and its surroundings. In addition, summits such as Ausangate, Pachatusán and Cinca can be seen, places that are believed to be inhabited by Apus or powerful spirits that rule the mountains.