Cusco city tour with excursion to Sacsayhuaman

August 24th 2003

Day tour in Cusco visiting Plaza de Armas with the cathedral and continuiung to the Temple of the Sun where there are beautiful samples of Inca architecture. Excrusion to Sacsayhuaman, probably an ancient fortress, before heading to Q'enqo and to Tampu Machay.

Cusco, Peru Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru Cusco, the old Inca capital, is a beautiful city at 3360 meters of elevation, rich in history and attractions.The tour of the city starts in Plaza de Armas, today in holiday because of St. Bartolomeo.


Cusco, Peru
Panoramic photo of Plaza the Armas, showing the cathedral, the church of Society of Jesus and the central gardens


Cusco, Peru
Pictures of Cusco. On the left, the main cathedral. On the right, the church of Society of Jesus.


Cusco, Peru
More photos of Cusco. Streets and buildings around Plaza de Armas.


Koricancha (Temple of the Sun), Cusco, Peru
The city tour continues with a visit to the beautiful Koricancha(Temple of the Sun). Unfortunately the site has been almost completely destroyed by the Spanishes in order to build the nearby Santo Domingo church and convent, and also because ordered by the catholic religion. In the pictures, the church stands above an Inca basement (left picture) and, on the right, the new monastery's courtyard (The Inca ruins are behind the portals).


Inca buildings, Cusco Peru Inca walls, Cusco Peru
Inca walls. The few remains are a nice example of the Inca's architecture.


Inca walls, Cusco Peru Inca walls, Cusco Peru
The precision with which the blocks are cut and joint togheter is amazing, as well as the geometry and the sense for aesthetic and beauty.


Inca architecture, Cusco, Peru Inca architecture, Cusco, Peru Inca architecture, Cusco, Peru
Sample of Inca architecture. The geometry used is fascinating: Often, doors and windows are perfectly aligned one behind another. They are not only beautiful to see, but also functional, as they are built following severe and effective rules to limit damages from earthquakes (the earthquake that hit Cusco about an half century ago, destroyed many Spanish buildings, but not Inca's).These rules include the inclination of the walls, the trapezoidal shape of doors, windows and walls itself, the accurate cuttingof the stones, which are also joint using a precise / alternate pattern and often firmly tied internal reinforcement (as already seen in Tiahuanaco). Last but not least, the buildings are built over foundations usually one meter deep, made of sand and gravel, in order to compensate and movement.To destroy them, spanishes often had to use the dynamite.


Sacsayhuaman fortress, Cusco, Peru
The next stop is on a hill near the suburbs of Cusco where, not only there is a nice view of the city, but also the intersting ruins of Sacsayhuaman. The funtion of this site is currently quite unclear, the researches have several hypotesis, but the most accepted is that it was a fortress to protect Cusco and / or a temple, perhaps the biggest Sun Temple of all.


Here the stone blocks are much more bigger than normal, up to 9x5 meters with a weight of about 500 tons.


Unfortunately, also here most of the site was destroyedand many stones removed.


Sacsayhuaman fortress, Cusco, Peru
Of this building, there are just the foundations.


Cusco, Peru
A WidevieW of Cusco as seen from the top of the hill.


A zoom over Plaza de Armas.


Sacsayhuaman fortress, Cusco, Peru Sacsayhuaman fortress, Cusco, Peru
Sacsayhuaman fortress, Cusco, Peru Also in this case, although the size and the weight, the stones are still cut and fit with a precision of a knife.


It seems that there aren't reliable information about the function of this other site, called Q'enqo. The entire complex has been built excavating internally a huge stone many meters big. The most accepted theory is that it was a religious site, where probably human and animal sacrifices was held (the top-right picture).


The last stop is at Tampu Machay. Also in this case the function of this site is uncertain but, because of the presence of the fountains, it was probably a bath or another temple with religious functions.


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