A Travellerspoint blog

February 2016

Legacy of the Incas

Cusco

sunny 68 °F

After only passing through Cusco earlier in the trip, we visited the sites of the city today.

First was the Inca ruin of Sacsayhuaman, equally as important to the Inca civilization as Macchu Piccu. Sacsayhuaman, is a citadel on the northern outskirts of the city, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Sections were first built by the Killke culture about 1100; they had occupied the area since 900. The complex was expanded and added to by the Inca from the 13th century; they built dry stone walls constructed of huge stones. The workers carefully cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar. The site is at an altitude of 3,701 m. In 1983, Cusco and Saksaywaman together were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Inca used similar construction techniques in building Saksaywaman as they used on all their stonework, albeit on a far more massive scale. The stones were rough-cut to the approximate shape in the quarries using river cobbles. They were dragged by rope to the construction site, a feat that at times required hundreds of men. The ropes were so impressive that they warranted mention by Diego de Trujillo as he inspected a room filled with building materials. The stones were shaped into their final form at the building site and then laid in place. The work, while supervised by Inca architects, was largely carried out by groups of individuals fulfilling their labor obligations to the state. In this system of mita or "turn" labor, each village or ethnic group provided a certain number of individuals to participate in such public works projects.

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We then headed back into town for a visit to the Santo Domingo Monastery. The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo date back to the end of the 16th century. The church is famous in Lima for being the only one with a "real" steeple, which in consequence of the construction over several stages has a very peculiar style. Inside the church are the oldest choir stalls of Lima, the famous statue of the Virgen del Rosario and the silver urns that contain the relicts of Santa Rosa (the patron saint of Lima) and San Martín de Porres.

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After a productive day, we were treated to a wonderful buffet dinner and traditional Peruvian entertainment at a local restaurant.

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Posted by rpickett 08:07 Archived in Peru Tagged cusco Comments (0)

Legacy of the Incas

Machu Picchu to Cusco

sunny 65 °F

After a wonderful morning in town, we boarded the train to head back up the Sacred Valley and back to Cusco, where we would spend the night at 11,000 feet.

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Posted by rpickett 14:46 Archived in Peru Tagged to machu picchu cusco Comments (1)

Legacy of the Incas

Machu Picchu

overcast 65 °F

After lunch in the village, we boarded the buses that take you to the entrance of the ruins. We spent the next two hours viewing one of the most amazing sites in the world.
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Posted by rpickett 14:30 Archived in Peru Tagged machu picchu Comments (0)

Legacy of the Incas

Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu Pueblo

overcast 60 °F

This morning we headed down the Sacred Valley to a lower elevation to the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, the gateway to Macchu Picchu. It's elevation is only about 8500 Feet.

First we stopped at the town of Ollantaytambo to visit the village and view its ancient Inca Ruins. Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca buildings and as one of the most common starting points for the four-day, three-night hike known as the Inca Trail.
In addition to the ruins, we were able to visit a local home complete with its supply of Guinea Pigs.
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After the ruin visit, we boarded the train, that would take us to the jump off point for Machu Picchu.
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Posted by rpickett 14:09 Archived in Peru Tagged valley sacred machu picchu pueblo Comments (0)

Legacy of the Incas

Cusco, Pisac

overcast 61 °F

This morning we left Lima and flew to Cusco, at an elevation of 11,000 feet. As we entered the Andes, our first essential business was to experience a Mother Earth Ceremony or El Pago a la Terra. The ceremony was conducted by a local Shaman, who as an Inca Princess, having carried down this ceremony from her ancestors. The ceremony thanks Mother Earth and asks for good health and safe travels. After the ceremony we were treated to lunch.
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We next stopped at Puca Pucara. Although there is not as much known about Puka Pukara as a lot of other Incan ruins, there is a theory that this site was probably constructed during the reign of Pachacutec. Since he was the ninth ruler of the empire, it can be said that Puka Pukara was one of the later constructions. The stones used to build most of the walls are very irregularly shaped, stacked together in kind of a here-and-there manner to create walls that are functional, but lacking very much beauty as far as architecture goes (this is in contrast to a lot of other sites in the area). Because of this, it is possible that the buildings and walls were built in somewhat of a rush because the military headquarters that Puka Pukara became was thought to be needed very quickly. When it was first built, the differently sized and shaped stones that now appear grey may have actually been a red color (hence its name, red fortress) due to all the iron in the limestone used in the walls.
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It was then on to a very quaint village of Pisac, where there were a number of artisans including a wonderful silver shop.
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We ended our day with dinner and a Peruvian Paso Horse Show.
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Posted by rpickett 13:36 Archived in Peru Tagged cusco pisac Comments (1)

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