Archaeological site of Racchi

The archaeological site of Racchi is one of the less known tourist attractions in the south of Cusco. It is a citadel and ceremonial center famous for its high adobe and stone walls. There, the temple of Wiracocha stands out, which reaches up to 14 meters in height (the highest in the entire Inca empire). The site also has warehouses, enclosures, water sources, platforms and roads. It is located 119 kilometers by road from the city of Cuzco.



What is Racchi?

Raqchi is an Inca citadel and religious temple built mainly of clay and featuring the highest walls in the entire empire. It extends to the south of Cusco, in an area of ​​approximately one thousand hectares. The set of constructions is made up of enclosures, warehouses, kallankas (temples), squares, water channels, walls, platforms and Inca roads. Of all these buildings, the most amazing is a high wall (up to 14 meters), which is known as the 'Temple of Wiracocha'. Most of the structures in Racchi are semi destroyed due to the passage of time. Despite its important historical value, not many tourists visit it. Currently, the archaeological site is still under investigation.

Location and height

The Inca temple of Racchi is located in the district of San Pedro de Cacha, Canchis province and south of the city of Cusco (119 kilometers by road). Geographically, the place is located 3,460 meters above sea level (11,351 feet of altitude).

How to get?

To visit Racchi, you must take public transport from the city of Cusco to the town of Sicuani (stop on Huayruropata avenue). The cost of the service is approximately 10 soles (3 US dollars). Before reaching Sicuani, tourists must descend at the archaeological site of Racchi (town of San Pedro de Cacha). A second option is to hire a tour that includes transportation service.

Map to get to Racchi

Racchi history

Archaeological evidence indicates that Racchi was inhabited by pre-Inca cultures such as Marcavalle (200 BC), Pucará (200 AD - 700 AD), Wari (200 - 700 AD) and Collao (700 AD - 1,100 AD). However, most of the constructions and ceramics found belong to the imperial Inca period (1450 AD to 1532). Likewise, the temple of Wiracocha (the most remarkable temple) was built in the Inca expansionist period, possibly during the government of Emperor Pachacutec (1418 dc - 1471 dc).

Currently, research work at the Racchi archaeological site continues. In 1996, the place received about 450 people each year. In 2006, it received 88,334 people. Because most of its buildings are made of adobe (uncooked clay), the place is semi destroyed. It is one of the tourist attractions of the so-called 'South Valley of Cusco', together with the Inca site of Tipón, the Wari de Piquillacta complex, the church of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas and others.

Archaeological site of Racchi

The entire Racchi complex covers an area of ​​approximately 1,000 hectares. The whole complex can be divided into five zones: the Wiracocha temple, the precincts, the warehouses (colcas), the Mesapata sector and the E.

a) The temple of Wiracocha – The main building of Raqchi, which reached great dimensions. It is presumed that its function was religious. Its main wall has holes at three different heights of the construction. It is made mainly of red clay (adobe blocks), up to a height of 14 meters. Currently only some walls are preserved, since the whole complex had greater proportions.

b) Enclosures – Sector also known as 'square' since it is surrounded by several buildings aligned in a 'U' shape. These enclosures are made of stone and adobe. Inside there are trapezoidal niches. In total, ten squares and a greater number of venues have been discovered. Ladders and warehouses have also been built in the sector. Much of the buildings are destroyed.

c) Warehouses – Set of ten rows formed by twenty circular colcas (warehouses) each. These have a diameter of between 7 to 10 meters. They served to preserve foods such as corn, potatoes, dried meat, etc. They are made of basalt stone, abundant in the area. Many of these structures are damaged due to the passage of time.

d) The Mesapata sector – Sector formed by several structures and limited by a small lagoon. A set of platforms, underground channels, water sources, wells, colcas and more stand out. In the highest part of the platform (known as Mesapata) are the remains of a temple. Like this one, other structures have been destroyed.

e) Sector E – This area of ​​Raqchi is mainly made up of the set of platforms that range from the river to the foot of the mountain that guards the archaeological site. Part of the site is also surrounded by an irregular stone wall. Likewise, a section of the 'qhapac ñan' or Inca trail crosses Raqchi.

The temple of Wiracocha

The Wiracocha temple is the most imposing construction in Racchi. It is a set of semi-destroyed walls made of stone and adobe, which reaches a height of 14 meters. According to the chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega (1539 - 1616), the Inca Hatun Topac had a dream with the Andean god Wiracocha (creator god of the world), which is why, after crowning himself Inca, he was called the same way. It was he who ordered the construction of the temple of Racchi.

The walls have a stone base that rises up to 3 meters high. The rest of the building is made up of adobe blocks until reaching the maximum height. The building has double jamb doors, trapezoidal windows in the raised areas. The whole set suggests the existence of a single Kallanka of great proportions. It was possibly a religious temple, although the destruction of the place does not help to corroborate this.

How much does the visit cost?

The entrance to Racchi has a cost of 10 Peruvian soles (3 US dollars, approximately).

The 1-day tours to Racchi and other tourist attractions in the South Valley of Cusco have an approximate cost of 30 US dollars per person.

Visiting hours

Racchi is open to tourists from Monday to Sunday from 7 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon.

What should i bring?

How's the weather?

Racchi is located south of Cusco, on the road that leads to the city of Juliaca. The climate there is cold and dry with maximum temperatures of 22ºC. (71.6 ° F). and minimums of 0ºC. (32ºF). The dry season occurs from April to October, while the rainy season occurs from November to March.

Images of Racchi

Sitio arqueológico de Racchi
Sitio arqueológico de Racchi
Sitio arqueológico de Racchi
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More information

A section of the 'qhapac ñan' road network (Inca roads) crosses Raqchi. This royal road linked Cusco with the territories of Collasuyo (region of the Qollas and Puquinas). The Incas built more than 30 thousand kilometers throughout their empire, which included part of the current countries of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Colombia.

In Racchi up to 156 warehouses (colcas) have been counted. This indicates that the citadel supplied food to the 'chaskis' messengers of the empire who traveled the Inca roads. The place is believed to have been a 'Chaskiwasi' (messengers' resting place).

Tips

During your visit to Racchi, take advantage of visiting some of the nearby archaeological sites. For example, you can go to Tipón, considered the best work of Inca hydraulic engineering. You can also visit Piquillacta, the best preserved pre-Inca citadel in Cusco.

Racchi is located near the town of San Pedro de Cacha. You can tour this Andean town after your visit. Every third Sunday in June, on the esplanade of the Wiracocha temple, the Racchi folk festival is celebrated, a party full of dances, music and a lot of tradition.