Minor sights in and around Cusco

Cusco Travel Blog

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Inside Qorikancha

To relax from the Inka Trail we stayed another day in the hospitable city of Cusco. My troubles from the first days in Cusco all but forgotten. We did a cheap city tour to see some extra sights that we might have missed. Minor sights in and around Cusco:

 

Qorikancha.

 

The Lonely Planet makes a lot of furore about this site, labeling it is a must-see, but we thought it was a rather odd assemblage of ancient Inka ruins, a cloister, a church, and on top a modern museum with a modern church. A hodgepodge without a distinct character.

 

So Qorikancha used to be the big Inka temple of Cusco, decorated with lifesize golden and silver statues of gods and lifestock in its gardens around it.

Made by an Inka priest during the Spanish conquest to preserve their culture
The Spanish then (as usual) broke it down and used the bricks to built a church. There was a big statue of the god Wiracocha, over which the Spanish helt a lottery.

 

Lots of Inka walls remain preserved. It seemed built for giants, because the doors had to be high enough so the emperor (the Inka) could be carried inside on the shoulders of his servants. In the walls there is a niche to be seen. The Inka would sit before this niche and there would be jewels set in little holes in the wall, so the sun would shine through the jewels to make a constellation of lights in the room of the Inka, and the Inka would be surrounded by a halo of colored lights.

 

Quarry of Saqsaywaman

 

We had seen Saqsaywaman before but this time we visited its quarry. From the quarry we took an underground tunnel, walking hand in hand because the darkness was perfect, and we ended up in the water bassin of the fortress, which is a grassy plateau nowadays. From here you have an excellent view over Saqsaywaman itself.

 

Q’enqo

 

Q’enqo was a major abode of the Inka emperor, outside of the city of Cusco.

Entering the quarry
He had a throne room for important occasions such as marriages. You can still see the outlines of the throne in the stone. The room is built as an elongation of two big boulders, and there is a natural corridor between them. The walls used to be covered by gold. Adjacent to the throne room was a temple and paintings on the walls represented the sky (condor), the ground (puma) and the underworld (snake), where there was a small cave underneath the boulder. In this cave llamas used to be sacrificed.

 

At the back side of Q’enco there is an enormous sundail, a rock a few meters high in front of the flat face of a big boulder. The dial used to give a shadow that resembled a puma, but the Spaniards cut off the “head”. (To be honest, those Inkas used to see pumas in everything.)

 

Tambomachay

 

The final sight of the day. This is the place of the most important spring of the city of Cusco and so was revered by the Inkas. In the walls there is a niche where the Inka and his wife would stand every day, while the mummies of past Inkas would be marched past them.

 

And so we say goodbye to Cusco and took a final Pisco Sour. Tomorrow a new adventure would await us: Lake Titicaca.

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Inside Qorikancha
Inside Qorikancha
The Peruvian and Inka flags
The Peruvian and Inka flags
Made by an Inka priest during the …
Made by an Inka priest during the…
Entering the quarry
Entering the quarry
Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
Inside Qorikancha
Inside Qorikancha
Inside Qorikancha
Inside Qorikancha
Inside Qorikancha
Inside Qorikancha
Outside Qorikancha
Outside Qorikancha
A niche for the Inka emperor. Jewe…
A niche for the Inka emperor. Jew…
Qorikancha
Qorikancha
The water basin of Saqsaywaman
The water basin of Saqsaywaman
The Inka throne at Qenqo
The Inka throne at Q'enqo
The sundial at Qenqo
The sundial at Q'enqo
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke