Cusco Sites: An Overview (Part 3)

In the event you are not starting with the first post in this series, I thought I would do a series on the local archeological sites and to start things off I figured an overview would be good. So the following are brief descriptions of many of the archeological sites in the Cusco region, some regularly visited and some that are seldom visited. In this overview you will find the sites listed in alphabetical order (starting with post one) and each listing will include a brief description original name and translation if known, and location and altitude as well as a few other items when available or known.

Raqchi

Raqchi

Raqchi
GPS – Latitude: -14.17388627 Longitude: -71.36904895
Altitude: 3480 m
Name translation: Unknown
Approximate Date: 1493 to 1525
Attributed Inka: Huayna Capac
Description: This site is roughly 2 hours to the South East of Cusco along the road to Puno and if you happen to be taking one of the tourist buses between Cusco and Puno, this will likely be one of your stops. This is a fairly large complex with buildings and the remnants of what was likely a fairly impressive wall, as well as terraces and grain storage buildings. There are several theories as to the purpose of this site from defensive or spiritual to a rest station or Tambo (tampu), and it is possible that this site served more than one or even all of these functions.

Saqsaywaman

Saqsaywaman

Saqsaywaman
GPS – Latitude: -13.50800437 Longitude: -71.98198065
Altitude: 3580 m
Name translation: Original spelling Saksaq Waman
Approximate Date: 1100 – 1493
Attributed Inka: Originally started by the Killike culture, Finished by Túpac Inca Yupanqui (Tópa Inca)
Description: This site sits above Cusco to the North and can be accessed by a short drive or on foot. The original layout of the city during the days of the Ica was in the shape of a puma with Saqsaywaman being the pumas head. This site contains some of the largest single stones used in any Incan construction with the largest being estimated at between 128 to almost 200 tons. While the main walled section of the site gets regular visits, there is a whole other side to this site, across the large field there is a set of stairs leading up, if you follow these up and the go around to the back side of the hill you will find another area with a stone slide, large reservoir or reflecting pool and even a tunnel.

Tambomachay

Tambomachay

Tambomachay
GPS – Latitude: -13.47900934 Longitude: -71.96731433
Altitude: 3810 m
Name translation: Original spelling Tampu Mach’ay “guest house cave”
Approximate Date: Unknown
Attributed Inka: Unknown
Description: Although this is the highest site on the list it is another of the smaller and less impressive sites, with only a few structures and some fountains. This site is a short walk from Puca Pucara and one of the starting points for a hike to Huchuy Qosqo, aside from this I find this “Inka Baths” to be basically unremarkable.

Tarawasi

Tarawasi

Tarawasi
GPS – Latitude: -13.46881186 Longitude: -72.43646353
Altitude: 2660 m
Name translation: “tara house”
Approximate Date: Unknown
Attributed Inka: Unknown
Description: Located roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes to the West of Cusco this is a small but interesting site that was likely a place of worship in the days of the Inka with the typical tight fitting stone work used for the wall of the top terrace and a pattern of daisy like flowers built into the lower terrace. You will also find the remains of an old colonial home on the top of the site that is being left to deteriorate. On the way to this site there are some thermal waters down in the canyon along the side of the river, if you go this direction and plan to stop at the thermal waters remember to bring insect repellent.

Tipon

Tipon

Tipon
GPS – Latitude: -13.56925739 Longitude: -71.7816183
Altitude: 3460 m
Name translation: Unknown
Approximate Date: Unknown
Attributed Inka: Unknown
Description: Tipon is believed to have been a site for ceremonies or water worship with its high quality stone work and many water channels and fountains. This is another site located in the Southern Valley to the East of Cusco and easily accessed by Taxi or public transportation. If you do decide to visit, take a walk up to the top where you will find some additional structures, as well as a section of old Inka Trail with an aqueduct running down the middle.

Urco

Urco

Urco
GPS – Latitude: -13.32159074 Longitude: -71.98454618
Altitude: 2960 m
Name translation: Unknown
Approximate Date: Unknown
Attributed Inka: Unknown
Description: This is a small but worthwhile stop if you happen to be in the Sacred Valley, with the best entry point being between the town of Urco and the new Inkariy Museum. A short drive up the hill will bring you to the small site where you will find a round tower like building on a hill and the remains of some buildings behind it. One of my favorite things is a frog looking fountain carved in the side of a large stone, aside from this and the round tower there is not much else of interest, but as it should only take about 15 minutes, it is worth a stop.

Wata

Wata

Wata
GPS – Latitude: -13.34857179 Longitude: -72.25052476
Altitude: 3800 m
Name translation:
Approximate Date:
Attributed Inka:
Description: Another remote site, Wata is located on a hill top north of our town of Huarocondo and the time to get there on foot is roughly 3 and ½ hours with the time from the road running down the canyon is about 2 hours. Wata itself is not all that impressive and the most enjoyable thing about visiting this site is the hike to get there.

Well that is all for now and while there are many more sites in the Cusco region, the above are the more popular and/or ones that I find interesting, as we continue to explore the Cusco Region I may add new sites to the list, for at this point in time, most of the other sites we have found have been small and not offered anything of interest.

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About Lyle

I love travel and am currently operating a Bed and Breakfast called GringoWasi in Cusco Peru with my beautiful Peruvian wife.
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2 Responses to Cusco Sites: An Overview (Part 3)

  1. Do you know of any historical fiction set in the days of the Inca or their predecessors? In English or Spanish

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