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For a long time, Peru’s tourism has been centered and limited in two words: Machu Picchu. If you think that coming to Peru is visiting one place and that is all, you are making a big mistake and losing incredible experiences near this Peruvian world wonder. Let me show you that you could make an enigmatic and unforgettable trip, learning about the extensive and wonderful Inca culture.
Sacsayhuaman is one of the most amazing Inca constructions, it was built with huge carved rocks, together with absolute precision, this work lasted 70 years and over 20,000 men worked building it. Their stone walls amazed Spanish conquistadors who were newly arrived and they named “Fortress”- according to their conception of cities and military buildings of this times- 16th century. When Spanish conquests came for first time could not believe and explain how Peruvian “Indians”, who were unaware of the use of pulleys and the existence of iron, used tree trunks instead of wheels, transported rocks of up to 200 tons, give them shape so they fit perfectly together and lifted to place them on top of each other could built such greatness. They religious fanaticism led them to suppose that was a work of evil spirits or demons. At that time, this fortress had no comparison in the old world.
The Spanish conquests disarmed these walls to neutralize a possible attack like the one by the Manco Inca uprising in 1536. Then the stones were exploited to build houses and churches in Cuzco. Originally, there were three parallel bastions or towers whose bases still be seen today (Muyucmarca, Sallacmarca y Paucarmaca). The first had a cylindrical shape, with a height of four floors and a diameter of about twenty two meters (it was located in the center of the other two). From the top of the second, squared shape, the entire city of Cuzco was visible and the third, had a squared shape as well. It is a typical Inca construction, there are figures designed in stones and rocks, entries to underground tunnels, amphitheaters, constructions of ritual character, probably related to the worship of water. Inside the fortress, there were large stores of food and weapons, and channels for water distribution.
The throne of the Inca, located next to the fortress, consisted of a large carved and polished rock in several levels, where the sovereign presided over the festivities, celebrations, parades and giving orders. Its Quechua (native language) name means “satisfied falcon”. In this site – named for many people as the American symbol of ancient megalithic civilization- takes place on June 24th, the annual Ceremony of Inti Raymi, where is staged the Inca Ritual of Sun God or Inti. The villager people mobilize with colorful costumes and represent typical dances, repeating the tradition of their ancestors. At this ceremony, visitors arrive worldwide who reserve their places with much anticipation.
In the last years, Sacsayhuaman is considered more important than Machu Picchu because it was the checkpoint of water for agricultural purposes, but mostly was the most important religious center of the empire. For several reasons, Tourists have begun to visit this place so full of history and beauty, just 30 minutes’ walk from the center of Cuzco.