Having seen the Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley, yesterday we were off to see some in Cusco itself, which is the historical capital of the Inca Empire.
First stop was Coricancha in the town centre itself. This ‘Temple of the Sun’ was the most important in Inca times. Now only 20% of it remains. It was once completely covered in gold which the Spanish colonists took. They then destroyed most of it and built a cathedral on the site which incorporated some of the Inca structure into the building. It is this remaining part of the Inca temple that you can visit today.
Next, we travelled uphill to the mountains overlooking the city and to the ruins of Sacsayhuamán. Most people joke that English speakers who can’t say this Quetchuan word pronounce it “sexy woman”, and to be honest it does sound like it.
The Incas originally designed and built Cusco in the shape of a Puma. Sacsayhuamán is the head of the puma. Again, most of the ruins aren’t there since colonists took most of the stones from the site to build chuches and buildings in the town.
Some of the stone work that remains is impressive. One particular wall is made in a zigzag line and represents the lines of the puma’s forhead.
It took thousands and thousands of people to help move the rocks to this site and over 30 years to build it. There wasn’t any slavery in the Inca times. The Incas had a socialist government and everyone was given some land. The building of these temples was a kind of tax that the Incan people paid in return.
Next up was Qenko where the Incas performed some of their rituals such as the sacrificing of Llamas and the mummification of the dead. Within a cave in the rock you can still see the huge rock table where these acts took place.
Finally we visited Puka Pukara the remains of a hunting lodge and storage place and last of all Tambomachay, some natural springs known as the Inca’s Bath.
Today we have walked round more of the city getting some last bits and bobs for the Inca Trail which we start tomorrow. We won’t be able to update the blog until 5 or 6 days time when we are back.