Seldom Visited Site #7 – Killarumiyoq:

Killarumiyoq will be the last post in this series of seldom visited sites, and this site is located almost 48 km to the West of Cusco, just above the town of Ancahuasi. Killarumiyoq roughly translates to “the moon stone” and one of the main features here is a large stone that contains a semi-circular and stepped (1/2 moon shaped) cutout.

Moon Stone

This site is believed to have been a location where the moon was celebrated (which would explain the moon shaped cutout) and as such is considered to be a feminine location, so much so that some local women still come to this site to give birth ubder one of the sites small fountains.

Aside from the large and impressive “moon stone” there are many terraces and some ruins, as well as a variety of carved stones that one can spend time walking around and enjoying, and there is one additional unique feature at this site. Above the terraces and built into the side of the cliff you will find a small cave, inside of this cave you can see some old stone carvings of faces, which I have been told are pre-Inka in origin.

Carving

Killarumiyoq is also a good place to experience an interesting and true local festival, one that mainly just gets locals and not tourists. On the last Sunday in August the Killa Raymi (or Killarumiyoq Raymi) is held at this site, this is a festival honoring the moon and is the counterpart to the much larger, and heavily tourist-ed, Inti Raymi that is held in Cusco on June 25th of each year.

Raymi

Like the Inti Raymi, the Killa Raymi starts with a parade of characters in colorful costumes and ceremonies before the Inka appears, to preform the rituals to pay homage to the moon. One of the things that I really enjoyed about the Killa Raymi, aside from the smaller crowds, was the fact that it was shorter and felt much more authentic and less theatrical than the Inti Raymi. Once the ceremony is complete everyone heads down just below the site where there is live music, food and of course beer and chicha.

Killa

Well I hope that you have enjoyed this series of seldom visited sites in the Cusco region, and I hope at least one of these posts has inspired you to spend at least a little of your time outside of the normal tourist routes when visiting the Cusco region.

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Seldom Visited Site #6 – Andenes Zurite

The previous 4 posts covered sites in the Sacred and Southern Valleys, now we will move to the West of Cusco where you will find the Anta Province, aside from those that traveling through and those staying with us here at GringoWasi, the Anta Province in general does not see many tourists, so it is still relatively untouched by tourism.

Zurite 1

The Andenes Zurite are located a little more than 42 km to the West of Cusco and the largest continuous terraces in the Cusco Region if not in all of Peru, with the larger terraces being about 1 km in length, 30 meters deep and 3 meters in height.

Zurite 2

Before being taken over by the government, the terraces were farmed and controlled by a wealthy family, the old colonial home is still on one of the upper terraces and is one of many building the Ministry of Agriculture occupies. The Ministry of Agriculture now manages the archaeological site and operates it as a large laboratory, here they test different growing methods and through cross pollination try to develop new varieties of crops, for instance they introduced a new variety of quinoa back in 2012.

Home.JPG

Aside from the terraces and colonial home, there are also ruins on the hill above the terraces that we have been told are referred to as Qenqo, like to site above Cusco. While the ruins above are accessible, it would be a difficult hike and according to some of the workers at the site, one would need a machete to blaze a path, as there is no established trail to get you there.

Zurite 3

If considering a trip to the Andenes Zurite and you like pork, I would recommend stopping in our town of Huarocondo for lunch, Huarocondo is regionally known as the “tierra de lechon” or land of lechon. Lechon is pork that has been slow roasted, and while lechon is available in Cusco and many towns in the region, it is usually a piece of adult pig, here in Huarocondo the pig must be 10kg or under and is roasted whole for 4 to 6 hours depending on size.

Huarocondo

Up next will be my last installment in this series, a site dedicated to the moon and where you can experience an amazing local celebration virtually free of other tourists.

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