Sacsayhuaman

The archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Cusco, Peru. It is a fortress made of huge stones, weighing up to 120 tons, which are joined together with great precision and skill. It is located just 5 kilometers from the city of Cuzco. To visit it, you must buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket, either within a tour or on your own. This ticket includes entrance to the other nearby Inca sites: Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay.



What is it?

Sacsayhuaman is an ancient Inca fortress located in the high mountains of the city of Cusco. Its name is a derivative of a Quechua word (language of the Incas) that means 'satisfied falcon'. Due to this location it served as a guard and defense post for the ancient Inca capital. It impresses with its huge stone walls weighing up to 120 tons that are assembled together with incredible perfection. Due to the invasion of the Spanish, only 20 percent of what was actually the place. Today it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Cusco along with Machu Picchu and the mountain of the 7 colors.

Location

Sacsayhuaman is located just two kilometers from the center of the city of Cusco. It is located in the upper part of the city, the ancient capital of the Inca empire.

Height

The Sacsayhuaman fortress is at 3,700 meters above sea level (12,139 feet).

Map to get to Sacsayhuaman

How to get there from Cusco?

Sacsayhuaman can be reached on foot from the Plaza de Armas by taking an uphill route through narrow streets. This walk of almost 1 kilometer takes approximately 30 minutes.

It can also be reached by public transport or taxi. The taxi ride takes only 5 minutes and costs between 5 and 10 Peruvian soles. The trip by public transport costs only 1 Peruvian sol but takes between 15 and 25 minutes.

History

Sacsayhuaman is one of the most impressive constructions made by the Incas. It is believed that it was built on the foundations of other older structures. It was the famous Inca Pachacutec, in the 15th century, who ordered its large-scale remodeling using more than twenty thousand men.

It is believed that the construction of Sacsayhuaman took up to 50 years. Some chroniclers believe that it was a religious temple, although its main function during the war against the Spanish was as a fortress.

There the Inca, seated on his throne, presided over the ceremonies of the Fiesta del Sol, where representatives from all corners of the empire participated. From there you can see the entire city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire.

After the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, Sacsayhuaman was the scene of bloody battles between the Europeans and the Incas. According to the chronicles, General Titu Cusi Huallpa 'Cahuide' threw himself from the top of the fortress to avoid being captured by the Spanish, dying instantly.

As a result of these battles, much of the structures of this fortress were destroyed. Today only 20 percent of the archaeological site remains standing. The Spanish victors used part of its stones for the construction of churches and other structures during the colony.

Today, Sacsayhuaman is one of the archaeological sites most visited by tourists who come to Cusco. There the famous 'Inti Raymi Festival' is held every June 24, a massive celebration where the ancient Inca festival is represented in honor of the sun god.

Plan of Sacsayhuaman

Mapa de Cusco hacia la laguna de Humantay

Description

The current archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman is divided as follows:

How much does it cost to go?

You can choose to go to Sacsayhuaman in two different ways:

What are the visiting hours?

Visiting hours are Monday through Sunday from 7 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon.

What to bring

When you visit Sacsayhuaman do not forget to bring:

Weather

Sacsayhuaman is cold and temperate. The average temperature is 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit). During the day (which is when the visit takes place) the heat reaches 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit). At night, the temperature can drop to as low as 4 degrees Celsius (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit). The rainy season occurs between November and April. The dry season occurs between May and October.

Amazing view Sacsayhuaman
Llama in the archaeological center of Sacsayhuaman
Stone of Sacsayhuaman
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Tips for the visit