|| Grid Reference:
31' 30" S, 71° 58' 30" W.
(Pre-Inca Mountain Fortress).
Located on the
outskirts of the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. It rests on an artificially
levelled mountaintop, and consists of three outer lines of gargantuan walls,
1,500 ft long and 54 ft wide, surrounding a paved area containing a circular
stone structure believed to be a solar calendar. The ruins also include a
500,000 gallon water reservoir, storage cisterns, ramps, citadels and
The great walls at Sacsayhuaman are a
part of the Jaguar's head that was once the original shape of
(Click here for map of the site)
Sacsayhuaman (Saksaq Waman):
Sacsayhuaman was built overlooking the Inca navel off Cuzco (Cusco). The
'fortress' is composed of three large terraced walls, which are said to
represent the 'Teeth of the Jaguar' (The original city of
Cuzco was said to have been in the shape of a
jaguar). Above the magnificent terraces are the remains of circular
Quechua the language
means "Satisfied Falcon"
Although it is commonly referred to as a 'fortress', the early
chroniclers were unanimous in their opinion that it had a reputation as a
Royal House of the Sun:
* Garcilaso de la
Vega, who sates in his "Comentarios Reales" ("Royal Comments") that people
from Cusco knew, from ancient times, that this architectonic complex was
actually a Royal House of the Sun. In chapter VI of his Seventh Book he
says: "…an Inca with royal blood left the fortress as a messenger of the
Sun…he left the fortress and not the Temple of the Sun, because it was said
that he was a messenger of war not of peace, that the fortress was the House
of the Sun".
* Pedro Cieza de León, Spanish chronicler of the conquest times, states in
his book "El Señorío de los Incas" ("The Incan Dominion") that the Royal
House of the Sun was located to the north of the city of Cusco, within a
* Martín de Murúa, also a Spanish chronicler, states that Sacsayhuamán
"…was, at first, the House of the Sun, and nowadays it is only a witness of
Some of the stones
show indentations which may have served a purpose in the construction
Although a substantial
part of the walls has been removed over the ages (as much as 3m along their
lengths according to archaeologists), what remains does so because it was
too large to move.
Tambomachay: (The Inca Baths)
Commonly referred to as the 'Baños
del Inca' or the 'Inca baths', Tambomachay is believed to have
been a site for ritual bathing. The excellent quality of the
stonework suggests that the location was of importance to the
Incas. The ruins basically consist of 3 tiered platforms.
The top level has four trapezoidal
niches; on the next level an underground spring emerges directly
from a hole at the base of the stonework and from here cascades
down to the bottom platform, while on the lower platform the
spring water splits into two channels, both pouring the last metre
into a stone basin.
From the simple perspective of
construction techniques, this is probably one of the best examples of
masonry in all the Pre-Columbian Americas.
The quarries for the stones are located 9 miles and 20 miles
away, on the other side of a mountain range and a deep river gorge. Within a
few hundred yards of the complex is a single stone that was carved from the
mountainside, moved some distance, and then abandoned. The stone contains
steps, platforms and depressions, probably intended as a part of the
fortifications. It now sits upside-down, the size of a five-storey house.
The largest stone blocks at Sacsayhuaman (some of which are
over 28ft high), are regularly estimated to weigh over 120 tons
(2). while more enthusiastic
estimates place the largest stones at 300 tons
(4), 361 tons
(21), 440 tons
(1). So precise was the
masonry that one block on the outer walls, for example, has faces cut to fit
perfectly with 12 other blocks. Other blocks were cut with as many as 36
sides. All the blocks were fitted together so precisely that a thickness
gauge could not be inserted between them.
The Muyuqmarka: (The Cuzco
Sundial, The 'Eye of the Jaguar')
top of the Sacsayhuaman fortress are the remains of a structure
discovered in 1934.
The Muyuqmarka consists of three
concentric, circular stone walls connected by a series of radial
walls. There are three channels constructed to bring water into
what many scientists consider to be a reservoir. A web-like
pattern of 34 lines intersects at the centre and also there is a
pattern of concentric circles that corresponded to the location of
the circular walls.
Myuqmarka was a building with 4 superposed floors. The first body
would have had a square floor; the second would have been
cylindrical; the third would have had also a cylindrical shape.
The successive would have formed circular cultivation terraces
with decreasing width, being the widest of 3.6 m and the narrowest
of 3 m. The tower would have ended up in a conic ceiling. Muyu
Marca must have reached a total height of 20 meters. It was as
amazing work that generated the admiration of several chroniclers.
The Spaniards destroyed it, in spite of the protests both from
Cieza and Inca Garcilaso.
The Eye of the Jaguar.
here for map of Cuzco/Sacsayhuaman overlaid with Jaguar)
SOURCE: EFE News Agency , March 9, 2003.
Sacred Inca City of Cuzco
This find may
form part of a series of galleries, chambers, fountains and
ancient mausoleums located under the ancient Incan city of Cuzco.
measuring 2 km in length, linking the Koricancha temple with the
fortress of Sacsayhuaman, located on the outskirts of the
Peruvian city of Cuzco, was discovered by Spanish archaeologist
Anselm Pi Rambla, in the ancient Inca capital. The tunnel may
form part of a series of galleries, chambers, fountains and
ancient mausoleums which are probably under the city of Cuzco,
according to measurments made by Pi Rambla as part of the
Wiracocha Project, initiated in August 2000.
The Spanish scholar stated before the Peruvian Congress's
Cultural Commission that he had discovered the subterranean
passageway, which in his opinion, "may change perspectives on
According to radar images obtained by Pi Rambla, the tunnel
links directly to the Temple of the Sun or Korikancha, with the
Convent of Santa Catalina or Marcahuasi, with the Cathedral or
Temple of Inca Wiracocha, with the palace of Huascar, with the
Temple of Manco Capac or Colcampata and with the Huamanmarca.
All of these buildings are in a perfect astronomical alignment,
which confirms that ancient Peruvians also guided their
constructions by the location of the Sun, the Moon and the
constellations. Access to a tunnel at the Sacsayhuaman Fortress
was already known, but it was condemned in 1923 to avoid the
disappearances of curiosity seekers who entered it, since its
trajectory was unknown.
archaeologist explained that this would involve a "Pre-Inca
citadel", belonging to a culture that has yet to be
calculate that it would be some 100 meters under Cuzco...the
great question is ascertaining what age it belonged to," adds
the archaeologist. In May, Pi Rambla will spearhead the
excavation work aimed at confirming the location of the
subterranean galleries which confirm the stories of chroniclers
like Garcilaso de la Vega and Cieza de León regarding an
underground citadel in Cuzco.