Sacsayhuaman, Cusco

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  • Over the Great Plaza to Cuzco
    Over the Great Plaza to Cuzco
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    Precisely Placed Stones
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  • Rehearsal for Inti Raymi
    Rehearsal for Inti Raymi
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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Sacsayhuaman Inca ruins

    by toonsarah Updated Jun 3, 2006

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    Sacsayhuaman doorway
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    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.

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  • AKtravelers's Profile Photo

    Bring Your Imagination With You at Sacsayhuaman

    by AKtravelers Written Apr 3, 2005

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    This is one of the biggest stones at Sacsayhuaman

    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.

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  • Orkaena's Profile Photo

    Saksayhuaman, home of the Sun

    by Orkaena Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The walls of Saksayhuaman

    At the top of the mountain that dominates the city of El Cusco, is located one of the most formidable fortress built by this culture.
    His name: Saksayhuaman.
    To be honest, nobody knows exactly the sense or the functionality of this cyclopean architecture.
    Details are made with exquisiteness, the accurate is impossible.
    The slope is covered by a tapestry of smelling grass called yerbabuena (is a kind of wild mint) very helpful to avoid the effects of the heights. Just pull up a few leaves and smell it smoothly . Buenisimo.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Sacsayhuaman

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This Inca fortress is perched high on a hill overlooking Cusco. This is the best preserved of Cusco's Inca ruins. The rest were torn down to build the colonial buildings. You can hike up here or catch a cab for 5 soles (about a $1.50 USD). Ask for "sexy woman".

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  • AlbuqRay's Profile Photo

    A Real Incan Door at Sacsayhuaman

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jan 11, 2004

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    Door at Sacsayhuama

    Sacsayhuaman (head of the cougar) is within walking distance of the plaza in Cusco but we took a bus. An Incan temple and fortress built with zig-zag walls to expose the flanks of any attackers, as all Incan architecture, it is characterized by huge stones that fit tightly with no mortar. Unseen are the unique Incan foundations made of llama wool and packed dirt that allow these structures to survive earthquakes that the Spanish construction does not. You can tell this is one of the original Incan doors since the stones and lintel fit, and have no mortar.

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  • hartti's Profile Photo

    Big Stones on the Hill

    by hartti Updated Apr 1, 2004

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    Inca Stones

    This place is marvellous. To the hill goes now and then a bus which is disguised to a tram. From the hill I walked down along a tiny path, and luckily there was just in the middle of the way a little pub with beautiful scenery from it's terrace. No pisco sour available.

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  • jackfruit's Profile Photo

    "Sexy Woman" she isnt, but a whole lot else!!!

    by jackfruit Written Jan 28, 2004

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    Trapezoidal Incan doorway (typical architecture)

    Initially mistaken by the Spaniards to be a fortress, this majestic Inca ruin was once a temple site. Some stones used in the construction of the site weigh in excess of 100 tons, so it's no wonder the conquistadors found it formidable.

    About 1 km north of Cusco, Sacsayhuaman can be reached by foot, car or bus. Note that if you opt to walk, it is a very steep uphill climb from the Plaza de Armas area to arrive at Sacsayhuaman and should not be attempted until you have acclimatized in Cusco for a bit. I think it is best seen as a day tour from Cusco as part of a Sacred Valley excursion.

    It was in these grounds that the Spanish finally vanquished the Incan dynasty and established colonial rule in Peru in 533.

    The ruins contain many temples built with cosmic precision to worship the sun, moon and constellations.

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    Admire the Engineering at Sacsayhuaman

    by AKtravelers Written Apr 3, 2005

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    An Inca doorway opens to the temple

    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.

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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    See a "Sexy Woman" in Cusco! The Inca Fortress

    by jumpingnorman Written Feb 19, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sexy Woman with Rainbow -

    Pronounced as Sexy Woman, Sacsayhuaman is an amazing display of Incan stonework and architecture.

    The limestone rocks, some of them weighing as much as 200 tons, have withstood earthquakes through the centuries. They are closely fitted together and so big --- so it is understandable whysome people even suggested that aliens might have made this fortification, wall complex, or sacred site. What is it really?

    Well, the stones on the upper parts were “harvested” by the Spaniards to build churches. But these remaining big blocks were so humongous and heavy and so they were left alone.
    Some people even went treasure hunting in its underground passages and died! So, don’t even think about it!

    I was lucky I saw a rainbow landing on the ruins while I was visiting. Definitely a sight to see!

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  • schlumpf's Profile Photo

    Sacsayhuamàn a.k.a. sexy woman

    by schlumpf Updated Nov 10, 2004

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    This pretty big site is the nicest one of the Cusco area.

    The Quechua name of this place could be pronounced as well as the english "Sexy mowan", indeed every person won't lose the possbility to decleare it...

    The site is pretty big, but they told me that this size is not bigger then the 20% of his real size....then it cames Pizarro..

    As per all the other sites in the are, to get here, you can drop in a taxi ..this is easier...

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    Sacsayhuaman

    by Paul2001 Written Jan 11, 2006

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    Sacsayhuam��n
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    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.

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  • cruisingbug's Profile Photo

    Sentinel Sacsayhuaman

    by cruisingbug Updated Jan 21, 2005

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    The largest stone at Sacsayhuaman, Cusco, Peru

    Not far above Cusco are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, which, like every tour guide at each ruin will say, are the most important ruins in the region. Our tour guide approached us halfway through, and only asked for a donation for his time. He explained how the massive stones were carved using pre-formed wooden molds and how they were put into place, using dirt planes. He also pointed out various animal formations in the rocks: the condor, the snake, the llama, etc., and took us to the "eye".

    The ruins themselves are impressive - even more so if you're still acclimating and are struggling up to the top of the "eye." Cusco was supposedly laid out in the shape of a puma, Sacsayhuaman being the head, and in the middle of the head is the "eye" - currently cordoned off for excavations, but still very visible. From the top is a stunning view of the red tile roofs of Cusco as well.

    The site is still used by locals - every year in June, the Inti Raymi festival is celebrated here.

    Entry is with the $10 Boleto Turistico, or $6 separate admission. We hired a taxi for the day, or you can walk up from Cusco (looked pretty steep).

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  • al2401's Profile Photo

    Sacsayhuamán

    by al2401 Updated Dec 12, 2011

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    Sacsayhuamán is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco. The complex is typically Inca. The cut boulders are massive and fit tightly together without the aid of mortar.
    Situated as it is, high above Cusco at an altitude of 3,701m, it is thought to have been a fortress. The terrace walls back up this theory. It is also said that it is part of a huge puma shape that encompasses the are including Cusco. Sacsayhuamán is the head of the puma and the zig-zag teeth are quite easy to recognise. In 1983 it was added, as part of the city of Cusco, to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    The most recognised part of the complex is the great plaza and the massive terrace walls alongside it. The huge stones, some of the largest used in construction in pre Spanish times, fit together so precisely that not even a piece of paper can be slid between them. This precision, the variety of size and shape and the way that the walls slope inwards for stability in earthquakes is evidence of an advanced civilisation. As is normal of conquering cultures, many of the blocks were taken and used in their construction.

    Open daily 7am-5.30pm. Entrance is included in the Tourist Ticket.

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  • chrissyalex's Profile Photo

    Sacsayhuaman

    by chrissyalex Updated Jul 14, 2003

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    Sacsayhuaman

    Sacsayhuaman (the pronounciation sounds very similiar to "sexy woman") are Inca ruins located right above Cusco. The city of Cusco was originally built to resemble the shape of a puma and Sacsayhuaman was the head. This fortress was built to protect the town. It was constructed with huge boulders and without using mortar.One of the stones weighs over 125 tons! It is guessed that it took over 20,000 men to build Sacsayhuaman and many lives were lost trying to drag these huge stones.
    You can see some spectacular views of the city of Cusco from Sacsayhuaman.
    Admission is with the tourist ticket

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  • ValbyDK's Profile Photo

    Saqsayhuaman

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 3, 2013

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    Saqsayhuaman, 2 kilometres northeast of Cusco
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    Saqsayhuaman is the most famous archaeological site around Cusco. It is uncertain when the site was built, but presumably dates back to the period of Inca Pachacuti (1438-1472), who founded the Inca Empire. It was a kind of fortress, and Saqsayhuaman played an important part in the final defeat of the Inca Empire as it was here the Conquistadors defeated Manco Inca Yupanqui in 1536.

    The Spaniards removed many stones to build their churches in Cusco – and up until the 1930s, also citizens from Cuzco used stones from the site as building material for their own houses. Only around 20% of Saqsayhuaman remains today, but still a very huge and impressive place. It is estimated that 20,000 -30,000 men was involved in the construction, and the work with cutting the blocks, transporting the blocks to the site, and fitting the blocks together took around 60 years. What an incredible work with the tools they had at the time...

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