Sacsayhuamán

After a late start I decided to take the Lonely Planets walking tour of Cusco and whilst going over old ground, I enjoyed sauntering along passing the time. The end of the walk is a trek up to Sacsayhuamán, which I did, but in a different way to that listed.

The standard way is to walk up a steep path leading from the back of Cusco and to the entrance of Sacsayhuamán– i took a different route taking the stairs up towards the road. These stairs were steep. Very steep. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. Eventually I hit the road and wandered along to large statue. After gawping at the view for a while, I continued towards the ruins going down a very steep path (not the normal passage!).

I then just walked in. No-one stopped me. No-one asked to see a ticket. I just walked straight in. This is handy as I didn’t buy one on the way figuring I’d get one from the guards…

The ruins are interesting, but without a guide mean little. I wandered around for a while looking at the lovely masonry, impressive bricks etc but that was all there was to this place. A photographer then befriended me and took me around the site and told me all about the symbols, specific rocks, man made lakes, irrigation tunnels (20m of narrow, tight passage way with no light). It was great and I learned a lot more than I would have done just wandering around myself!

Pictures of Sacsayhuamán

The walls are very impressive – everything fits together perfectly!

 

I’m told these rock formations were formed by glaciers many years ago. National Geographic also says that the Inca’s used to smooth these out and now it’s a slide.

 

The remnants of the man made lake – it used to stand 8m tall and was used for irrigation.

 

The Inca throne, this sits in front of the lake above. To the left (not pictured) is a place where mummification used to happen.

 

Another throne, the carvings on the rock to the left are a face – this apparently is echo’d at another Inca site further up the Sacred Valley

 

This is the top of an Andean cross, the notches in the stone opposite line up on Summer Solstice – there is a similar rock on the right which is used for Winter Solstice.

 

Final note

The standard walk up to the ruins is fun as it’s alongside a river with cascades and rapids. It is however tough – the climb is relentless and at this altitude is very difficult. I’d hire a guide as well and ensure that they are know lots about the site – I got so much more from listening to Elfrien (I’m not sure that is how you spell his name) and would never have noticed a lot of things he showed me.

There is more reading on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacsayhuam%C3%A1n

Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.