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Q'enqo Tips (7)


This fascinating small ruin is close to Cusco on the road to Sacsayhuaman. The purpose of the site is unclear although the construction led the Spanish to believe it was an amphitheatre. The main feature is a huge boulder carved out with paths, niches and possible altars - hence the name Q'enqo - labyrinth or zig zag.

al2401's Profile Photo
Dec 22, 2011

Ritual place

About a kilometre further from Sacsayhuaman you will find the Q’enqo ruins. In Quechua Q’enqo means labyrinth or zigzag, and it pretty much explains its meaning when you look at the temple. This temple is thought to have been used mainly as a ritual place, where sacrifices took place. It is still unclear whether the Incas made human as well as animal sacrifices, but generally speaking the sacrifices were made of animals, and in particular of llamas. Now not every sort of llama was eligible for the sacrifice, only black llamas (and not partially black or dark brown) were the ones that they would use. This would take place in the sacrifice room, where you can see a platform where they’d place the llama. The blood would be collected, and after about a month of being stored, the priest would pour the blood on the zigzag shaped carving of the temple. This ritual was performed to know if the year was going to be a good one or a bad one. It’s said that if the blood flowed down to the end on the zigzag it meant it was going to be a good year, but if the blood stopped before that it was going to be a bad year, and so they would store extra food and supplies to get passed the winter.
Also around the ruins you can see a great monolith of about 6 meters high. Some people believe it’s a toad or a frog, some say it is part of a bigger sculpture that broke down, and others believe it used to be a puma figure that got damaged. I must say that if you look from the right angle it looks pretty much like a frog looking up, still there are so many mysteries surrounding the Inca Empire.

Urzu's Profile Photo
Aug 07, 2008


After Sacsayhuaman this was the second ruins that we visited. We didnt stay here long and there were alot of tourist here with thier guides. We listen for a while then walked into this cave like place where there was a sacraficial altar. Adrianna suggested I be sacrificed and our tour group thought it was a wonderful idea. Then Ms. genious almost made us get left behind, our bus leaving without us because she wanted to get something to eat. So here we were chasing our bus down, waiving our arms like crazy women hoping they would see us! Yes, they stopped and we joined our group again. We were happy to know that we werent the only ones that were getting left. That was embarrassing. All Adriannas fault..

malianrob's Profile Photo
Dec 05, 2007

Rocks and Tunnels

Quenko is an amazing site near Sacsayhuaman around 15 minutes drive from Cusco. It was orginally used as a site for woship with numerous tunnels and carvings dedicated to each of the Gods.

Once again there are fabulous views from Quenko.

nattybabe's Profile Photo
Feb 05, 2007
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Quenko is a short drive from Cusco, very close to Sacsayhuaman. It is a small site where ancient Peruvians from around 1500 AD used outcropping of natural rock and made sculptures with imported stones. It is said that Quenko is a temple dedicated to the Puma which in ancient Peruvian times symbolized life. In the Quechua language, Quenko means ‘labyrinth’ or ‘zigzag’.

To the naked eye, Quenko looks like a bunch of rocks. Quenko is a site you should visit with a guide to understand what you are seeing. It has a number of carvings, holes and canals built in rock for ceremonies. Our guide explained some of the more important places in this site.

There is a place where there is a bare polished rock and there are two cylinders coming out of it. This we were told may have been used to calculate the sun’s position. It was called the Intihuatana or the place where the sun is tied. It may also have been used as an astronomical observatory to calculate solstices and equinoxes. Additionally, at this site they may have worshipped the sun, moon, and other celestial objects.

Close to the Intihuatana is a zigzagging gutter. It starts as a small hole and travels down a chute. It separates and one of the branches goes to the underground chamber or sacrifice room. The chute may have transported the blood of llamas or chicha as a offering for the gods.

There is an underground room with floors, walls, tables and a ceiling. The guide said the purpose of the room was unknown. However, theories say it could have been a place for secret rites, a place for sacrifices or a place to embalm noblemen.

The amphitheater is a large semicircular area carved in natural stone. At the center of the room may have been a puma that was destroyed. This may have been a place where ancient Incas preformed public ceremonies.

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.

lashr1999's Profile Photo
May 19, 2006

Q'enqo, Wierd Rock Thing

Q'enqo is near Saqsaywamam, on a hill overlooking Cuzco. It liiks like it was just a big Rock but the Incas, carved tunels, steps, and many other features into this place that I can not describe or explain. I'm sure it had some significance to them, and it definitly has a wierd feel walking around it. Worth exploring.

MrRandMcnally's Profile Photo
Aug 06, 2005


These Inca ruins which contain an temple and an amphitheatre was thought to be associated with solstice and equinox ceromonies,fertility rites and marriages rituals. Beneath the ruins are small caves and tunnels you can wander around.
Admission is with the Tourist ticket

chrissyalex's Profile Photo
Jul 22, 2003
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"Cusco and the Sacred Valley"
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"The center of the Empire"
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"The "special" shine in Cusco"
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