Full of intrigue.. Who built it? What exactly did they do here? And who were THEY?
Saqsayhuaman is HUGE and dominates the northern hillside of Cusco alongside the Christo Blanco. There are many different stories about the origins and purpose of this site, the most common story is that it was built by the Incas, I believe this is partially true and that the later, higher and more modern parts (that have since been destroyed) were built and used by the Incas. However the Incas themselves reportedly told the Spanish conquistadors they believed the original megalithic stone foundations were there before them and laid by “giants”.
Saqsayhuaman was my favourite of all the ruins we visited, the construction itself is out of this world, some of the stones are the size of a car and they are all perfectly cut and fitted together and archeologists have found the nearest location these stones could’ve come from to be some 38kms away.
How these rocks, weighing hundreds of tonnes were ever moved in the first place, let alone cut and fitted together with such precision will forever remain a mystery.
The stories of old tell how the great, imposing walls and three towers stood tall, creating the appearance of a fortress. However this was not the intended purpose of Saqsayhuaman or its main use. It was in fact a temple, where the most important god was worshiped – the sun.
Consisting of houses, store houses, places of worship, aqueducts, underground tunnels, a great amphitheatre and watchtowers; we were both absolutely awestruck by these ruins.
We were very lucky to have had our friend Luciano take us to see this site and tell us all about its history, with his Inca heritage he’s very in touch with the spiritual energy of the site so when he told me to trust in pachamama and walk through the narrow, pitch-black tunnel imagining rebirth, claustrophobic tendencies aside, I went for it. It scared the bejesus out of me, especially when I heard one of the other guys say something about claustrophobia in Spanish (it sounds the same guys!) but it was a great way to imagine the Incas using these tunnels to traverse thousands of Ks. They say they had tunnels all the way to Ecuador!
In 2003 a Spanish archeologist discovered a 2km tunnel some 100m’s deep leading to Cusco, it’s rumoured there was an underground city which was the jewel of the Incan Empire however when people started getting lost in the labyrinth of tunnels looking for the city the remaining entrances had to be blocked.
Of all the ruins, this one is a goody. Don’t miss it if you’re in Cusco.
Getting there: It’s a 30 minute walk uphill through San Blas or you can take a taxi without a tour which might cost 5 soles. If you prefer, you can take the bus from Puputi Street that goes to the Sacred Valley, the ticket costs 3 soles.
We bought our Boleto Turistica del Cusco from Official Tourist Information Centre
Address: Calle Mantas (just off the main plaza)
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 08:00 – 12:00 hrs & 14:00 – 18:00 hrs.