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.
, 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.
Panoramic photo of Plaza the Armas,
showing the cathedral, the church of Society of Jesus and the central gardens
Pictures of Cusco. On the left, the main cathedral
. On the right, the church of Society of Jesus
More photos of Cusco. Streets and buildings around Plaza de Armas.
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).
The few remains are a nice example of the Inca's architecture.
with which the blocks are cut and joint togheter is amazing, as well as the geometry and the sense for aesthetic and beauty.
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 cutting
of 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
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 destroyed
and many stones removed.
Of this building, there are just the foundations
A WidevieW of Cusco
as seen from the top of the hill.
A zoom over Plaza de Armas.
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.