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 Location: Overlooking Cuzco, Peru.  Grid Reference: 13° 31' 30" S, 71° 58' 30" W.

 

      Sacsayhuaman: (Pre-Inca Mountain Fortress).

Located on the outskirts of the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. It rests on an artificially levelled mountaintop, and consists of three outer lines of gargantuan walls, 1,500 ft long and 54 ft wide, surrounding a paved area containing a circular stone structure believed to be a solar calendar. The ruins also include a 500,000 gallon water reservoir, storage cisterns, ramps, citadels and underground chambers.

The great walls at Sacsayhuaman are  a part of the Jaguar's head that was once the original shape of Cuzco.

(Click here for map of the site)

 

 

   Sacsayhuaman (Saksaq Waman):

Sacsayhuaman was built overlooking the Inca navel off Cuzco (Cusco). The 'fortress' is composed of three large terraced walls, which are said to represent the 'Teeth of the Jaguar' (The original city of Cuzco was said to have been in the shape of a jaguar). Above the magnificent terraces  are the remains of circular structure called Muyuqmarka.

Sacsayhuaman in Quechua the language means "Satisfied Falcon" (3)

Although it is commonly referred to as a 'fortress', the early chroniclers were unanimous in their opinion that it had a reputation as a Royal House of the Sun:

* Garcilaso de la Vega, who sates in his "Comentarios Reales" ("Royal Comments") that people from Cusco knew, from ancient times, that this architectonic complex was actually a Royal House of the Sun. In chapter VI of his Seventh Book he says: "…an Inca with royal blood left the fortress as a messenger of the Sun…he left the fortress and not the Temple of the Sun, because it was said that he was a messenger of war not of peace, that the fortress was the House of the Sun".

* Pedro Cieza de León, Spanish chronicler of the conquest times, states in his book "El Señorío de los Incas" ("The Incan Dominion") that the Royal House of the Sun was located to the north of the city of Cusco, within a collado."

* Martín de Murúa, also a Spanish chronicler, states that Sacsayhuamán "…was, at first, the House of the Sun, and nowadays it is only a witness of its ruin".

Some of the stones show indentations which may have served a purpose in the construction process.

Although a substantial part of the walls has been removed over the ages (as much as 3m along their lengths according to archaeologists), what remains does so because it was too large to move.

 

 

Tambomachay: (The Inca Baths)


Commonly referred to as the 'Baños del Inca' or the 'Inca baths', Tambomachay is believed to have been a site for ritual bathing. The excellent quality of the stonework suggests that the location was of importance to the Incas. The ruins basically consist of 3 tiered platforms.

 

 

The top level has four trapezoidal niches; on the next level an underground spring emerges directly from a hole at the base of the stonework and from here cascades down to the bottom platform, while on the lower platform the spring water splits into two channels, both pouring the last metre into a stone basin.

 

The Stones:

From the simple perspective of construction techniques, this is probably one of the best examples of masonry in all the Pre-Columbian Americas.

The quarries for the stones are located 9 miles and 20 miles away, on the other side of a mountain range and a deep river gorge. Within a few hundred yards of the complex is a single stone that was carved from the mountainside, moved some distance, and then abandoned. The stone contains steps, platforms and depressions, probably intended as a part of the fortifications. It now sits upside-down, the size of a five-storey house. (9).

The largest stone blocks at Sacsayhuaman (some of which are over 28ft high), are regularly estimated to weigh over 120 tons (2). while more enthusiastic estimates place the largest stones at 300 tons (4), 361 tons (21), 440 tons (1). So precise was the masonry that one block on the outer walls, for example, has faces cut to fit perfectly with 12 other blocks. Other blocks were cut with as many as 36 sides. All the blocks were fitted together so precisely that a thickness gauge could not be inserted between them.

(The Top-50 Stones)

 

The Muyuqmarka: (The Cuzco Sundial, The 'Eye of the Jaguar')

 

On top of the Sacsayhuaman fortress are the remains of a structure discovered in 1934.

The Muyuqmarka consists of three concentric, circular stone walls connected by a series of radial walls. There are three channels constructed to bring water into what many scientists consider to be a reservoir. A web-like pattern of 34 lines intersects at the centre and also there is a pattern of concentric circles that corresponded to the location of the circular walls.

 

Originally, the Myuqmarka was a building with 4 superposed floors. The first body would have had a square floor; the second would have been cylindrical; the third would have had also a cylindrical shape. The successive would have formed circular cultivation terraces with decreasing width, being the widest of 3.6 m and the narrowest of 3 m. The tower would have ended up in a conic ceiling. Muyu Marca must have reached a total height of 20 meters. It was as amazing work that generated the admiration of several chroniclers. The Spaniards destroyed it, in spite of the protests both from Cieza and Inca Garcilaso.  (3)

Sacsayhuaman. The Eye of the Jaguar.

The Eye of the Jaguar.

(Click here for map of Cuzco/Sacsayhuaman overlaid with Jaguar)
 

 

Article: 2003: SOURCE: EFE News Agency , March 9, 2003.
 

Ancient Tunnel Discovered in
Sacred Inca City of Cuzco

 

This find may form part of a series of galleries, chambers, fountains and
ancient mausoleums located under the ancient Incan city of Cuzco.

A tunnel measuring 2 km in length, linking the Koricancha temple with the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, located on the outskirts of the Peruvian city of Cuzco, was discovered by Spanish archaeologist Anselm Pi Rambla, in the ancient Inca capital. The tunnel may form part of a series of galleries, chambers, fountains and ancient mausoleums which are probably under the city of Cuzco, according to measurments made by Pi Rambla as part of the Wiracocha Project, initiated in August 2000.

The Spanish scholar stated before the Peruvian Congress's Cultural Commission that he had discovered the subterranean passageway, which in his opinion, "may change perspectives on Peruvian history."

According to radar images obtained by Pi Rambla, the tunnel links directly to the Temple of the Sun or Korikancha, with the Convent of Santa Catalina or Marcahuasi, with the Cathedral or Temple of Inca Wiracocha, with the palace of Huascar, with the Temple of Manco Capac or Colcampata and with the Huamanmarca.

All of these buildings are in a perfect astronomical alignment, which confirms that ancient Peruvians also guided their constructions by the location of the Sun, the Moon and the constellations. Access to a tunnel at the Sacsayhuaman Fortress was already known, but it was condemned in 1923 to avoid the disappearances of curiosity seekers who entered it, since its trajectory was unknown.

The archaeologist explained that this would involve a "Pre-Inca citadel", belonging to a culture that has yet to be considered..

"We calculate that it would be some 100 meters under Cuzco...the great question is ascertaining what age it belonged to," adds the archaeologist. In May, Pi Rambla will spearhead the excavation work aimed at confirming the location of the subterranean galleries which confirm the stories of chroniclers like Garcilaso de la Vega and Cieza de León regarding an underground citadel in Cuzco.

(Underground Structures)


 

(Other Peruvian sites) 

References:

1).David. D. Zink. The Ancient Stones Speak. 1979. Musson Books.
2). "Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris Scarre 1999
3). http://www.cusco-peru.org/cusco-surroundings-cusco-sacsayhuaman.shtml
4). Rob Rachowiecki, Charlotte Beech. Peru. Lonely Planet. 2004.
9). Rene Noorbergen. Secrets of the Lost Races. New English Library. 1977.
21). G. Hancock. Fingerprints of the Gods. Mandarin. 1996.
 

 

 
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