What is left of this place now is the outer walls. Its a little difficult to imagine what it could have looked like in the 15th century. What is impressive here is that the stones to build this place are large and weigh about 90 to 130 tons. There is also one stone that weighs approx 300 tons and is about 11 ft high. They are also brought from over twenty miles away. So how did the Inca do it?
They believe this place used to be a type of fortress and could have housed over 10k men.
They say that the Inca also made the city of Cusco in the shape of a Puma. The head of the Puma being Sacsahuaman.
When we saw the ruins we did notice the zig zag shape of the structure but I couldnt picture this being the teeth of the Puma.
From what I have read, this zig zag shaped also helped in warfare as it would have been very hard to attack at this place.
make sure you go with lots of people, but usually people meet up at the back of the ruins under the bright full moon anf walk up to templo de la luna. an amazing experience. fotos coming watch this space
Sacsayhuaman is an amazing Inca ruins site just on the outskirts of Cusco. When I was there it was covered in tourists and the mandatory locals touting goods and services but you can still find a quiet area to view if you try. If you go with a tour guide you get to know all about what this city used to be like and when and how it was discovered - if not then you will need to research it first.
Pronounced "sexy woman" Sacsayhuaman is an ancient place of worship as well as a military base. Your guide will be able to tell you about the incredible methods the Incans used to build their cities. Usually the walls are built deep into the ground to support the building from earthquakes. The Incans didn't use mortar rather by dry building with each piece of stone perfectly fitting into the other.
The Quechua name means "satisfied falcon" and is pronounced "sexy woman". It is a huge site overlooking Cuzco at 3800 m altitude (make sure you are acclimatized). It was an important site for the incas and you can see huge boulders carved by them to fit perfectly on top of one another. THere is 3 levels to this site and you can walk in the maze and take pictures as you wish. Make sure you go on top of the hill for commanding views of Cuzco.
We went to see this site before our trip to Machu Picchu so it was like a sneak preview of the wonders to come.
It is easy to get to we just had a cab take us there ...it's close by.
A magnificent sample of Inca architecture from the 15th century, it has enormous walls of granite block forming three immense superimposed terraces in a zigzag pattern. The stones are immense some five meters tall .It served religious, administrative and possibly military purposes.
If you are here in June be sure to check it out , the annual Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) takes place here.
If your looking to do a good walk in a round about way, here is what my friends and i stumbled onto. it was the most authentic day of our trip in Peru.
The idea was to do the walk to all the ruins close by starting at Sacsayhuaman. We walked up there from our hotel in town ( not a bad little walk at all ) . when we arrived, we were approached by a local asking if we would like a tour. we agreed on a price of 20sole. we were there about 2 hrs, he was very knowledgable. at the end, he asked what we were doing now, we said walking up to all the ruins. he had a suggestion, which turned out to be great. He offered to take us in a local bus (1Sole each) to the far ruin and then guide us back. we did just that and it turned out to be a great great idea. he offered to do this for only another 15sole. at the end, he brouhgt us past a small ( albeit most people would not eat here except the most hearty) famly place where we enjoyed lunch back near Sacsayhuaman. we ended up paying him 60sole( our choice to show appreciation for a great day he gave us) . we were the only group ( there were three of us) that he was with that day, we walked back to town with him where we said our goodbyes. tip, let go of your instincs, trust the locals and have a great time.
Located two kilometers from the city of Cusco, the immense walls of the Sacsayhuaman archaeological complex are made up of huge stones distributed in a zigzag pattern in three platforms with an average of 1,181ft in length.
These platforms are connected by flights of stairs and doorways made of stone. One of these is 29 feet tall and 15 feet wide and weighs more than 100 tons.
The largest stone block found in Sacsayhuaman stands 27.88 feet high and weighs 361 tons! Indeed, Inca Pachacuti employed 20,000 men for the construction of this complex and it took approximately 50 years to complete.
Sacsayhuaman (you say it "sexy woman" - well almost!) is an Inca place of worship perched on a hill above the city of Cusco. The ruins cover a large area of ground, and give you a really good picture of Inca building techniques. Our guide pointed out both the largest and the smallest stones used in the construction, as well as some stones she claimed were arranged in a way designed to look like various animals - I couldn't make out most of these though, apart from a duck-billed platypus (which aren't usually seen in Peru!)
The real fascination though is seeing the incredible craftsmanship in fitting these massive rocks together so tightly, and in a way that's stood the test of time so well, despite being in an earthquake zone. You can also learn a lot about the way the Incas lived and worshipped, although you'll need a guide or a good guidebook, as otherwise you'll just see some impressive but meaningless walls.
Saqsaywaman is pronounced as “sexy woman” for those of us who are non-natives. The site was used both as a site of worship and a military fortress.
The site of Saqsaywaman was completed in 1508. It took 50-60 years to complete. It is said that 20-30 thousand men were involved in constructing the site. In addition several thousand lives were lost during the construction.
Our guide presented us with several theories of why Saqsaywaman was constructed the way it was. One states that Cusco was planned in the shape of a Puma which symbolized life. The main city forms the body of the puma. The river Tullumayo forms the spine of the puma. The ruins of Saqsaywaman forms the head of the puma. In fact the name Saqsaywaman can be translated from the Quenca language into ‘speckled head’. There are three parallel huge limestone walls built on different levels. These zigzag walls are thought to represent the teeth on the puma’s head. There is another interpretation of these same three walls. Some believe it can represent the three levels of the Andean religious world. These three levels are the Ukyu Bucha (underground stage), the Kay Pacha (surface stage) and the Hanan Pacha (sky stage). Still another interpretation states the zigzagging walls represent the thunderbolts and lightning of the god llapa.
Many people are in awe today as to how the structure was built using only primitive tools. The irregular stones are fitted together in a variety of interlocking shapes with great precision. They used no mortar and still a single piece of paper will not fit between the stones. In fact, the structure has withstood several earthquakes.
You can take a four hour tour to visit this site and others from Cusco for around $10. Use your $20 tourist ticket to get into this site as well as 15 other historical sites. Definitely, get a guide or read about the site before you go otherwise you will see just a bunch of rocks.
Sacsayhuaman is one of the most important Pre-Columbian ruins in Peru. These were apparently the defensive walls built by the Inca in the 15th century to protect Cusco from the Puma approach. There are other archeologists who believe after finding many ritualistic relics on the grounds nearby that Sacsayhuaman was actually a place for religious ceremony. This is actually what my tour guide believed. The fact that the walls are designed in a zigzag manner might indicate this. However it is possible that the zigzag was meant to look like a jaguar's teeth from afar.
The walls are actually designed in three rows of ramparts. The stonework is probably the most famous aspect of the walls. So well cut and fitted were the stones that it is impossible to slide in a thin piece of paper in between the stones. This is all the more remarkable for the fact that the stones are so huge in size. One stone reaches 300 tons in weight. Even more remarkable is that they have been without the use of mortor. Spanish estimates figured that it must of taken 20,000 men to cut and place these huge stones together. My tour guide even suggested that aliens were responsible for the construction of the site. He lost me there.
I visited Sacsayhuaman by way of a half day bus tour. This is a quite sensible option if you hope to visit Sacsayhuaman, Qenko and Tambo Machay all in a short span of time. It should be noted that walking between these sites is not considered to be altogether safe because of bandits. Another note that should be mentioned. This is a very popular attraction so you will not be alone. Expect large crowds who will get in the way of your photos.
Sacsayhuaman is open from 7:30am to 5pm. Entry is included the Cusco Tourist Ticket.
I thought I would get tired of seeing ruins on this trip and to my surprise I didn't. Each set of ruins was so different the the last and Sacsayhuaman (pronounced "Sexy-Woman"). This huge structure is so intimidating. We were able to get a private tour of the ruins and it was so worth it - even though we struggled with the altitude (see my warnings)
Really the most impressive Inca Ruins in Cuzco Saqsaywaman is a huge colection of perfectly arrainged stones creating an impressive, complez, display of Incan arcatecture. The largest stone known to have been used by the Incas is here, Perfectly alliegned with it's neighbors just like the smaller ones.
From up on the hill there is an amazing view of Cuzco so don't forget to look away from the fort and see the view.
In a region subject to earthquakes, Inca construction and engineering techniques had to be good for their work to last over the centuries. To steal a joke from "The Motorcycle Diaries", Cusqueno construction can be divided into two periods: Inca and Incompetent. Indeed, the Spanish-constructed Cusco Cathedral collapsed quickly during the 1750 earthquake.
The strength of Incan engineering can be seen in this door at Sacsayhuaman. The very stable trapezoidal shape with the heavy top lentil made it practically earthquake-resistant. The thick walls of Sacsayhuaman lean on the earthworks, and smaller stones lie on top of the bigger ones. Since the Incas had the benefits of 2500 years of Peruvian civilization to build on, it's not surprising that they were good at it.
The Inca temple of Sacsayhuaman is a "must do" in Cusco, but it's also obligatory to bring your imagination with you when you go. For, as impressive as the site is, it was a much more imposing place before the Spaniards and subsequent generations plundered the stones for construction elsewhere.
But even without your imagination, Sacsayhuaman (pronounced almost like "sexy woman") is impressive. Huge stones stretch in a zigzag pattern for almost 400 meters. The stones support earthworks on top of which there are more structures. On the outside of the stones is a flat green plaza that apparently was used for ceremonial purposes. Some of the stones are impressively large, weight more than 100 tons, but still carved with such precision that they fit neatly and perfectly in place next to the other large blocks. Even more impressive is the fact that the stones came from far away and the Inca laborers, not having the benefit of wheeled transport, had to drag the stones to the site or roll them along on logs.
We recommend getting a guide at Sacsayhuaman, because you'll have lots of questions and the guides are knowledgeable or creative, depending on whether they know the answer or not. Don't forget to take a look at the view of the city of Cusco -- it's one of the best.
Do not attempt to see "sexy woman" without a guide. You will miss out on the subtle intracacies which make this site all the more interesting. A fairly extensive visit can be done in less than 1 1/2 hours, and a guide (for up to 5-6 people) can be had for $10-15. If you go without a guide, you are wasting your time.