The Sacsayhuaman (also called Sacsaywaman or Saqsawaman, meaning (‘Royal Eagle’).
a former Inca fortress complex located high on a hill overlooking Cusco, about 2 km ( 1.2 miles) from Cusco city. Sacsayhuaman is one of the most famous Inca archaeological sites in the area.
Sacsayhuaman is an Inca complex built in the 15th century. Like Machu Picchu, it houses a small citadel and religious sites. It also served as a military fortress back in Inca times.
How to get to Sacsayhuaman
There are two major options for getting to the ruins from Cusco’s center. You can walk to the ruins, or you can take a tour.
Go on your own
Go up Suecia street from Cusco’s main square, take Resbalosa street. Turn right after the San Cristobal church and follow the road. Finally, you will join the ancient Inca road to Sacsayhuaman ruins, from here the climb to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman takes between 30 to 40 minutes.
On a tour
If you want to take a tour to Sacsayhuaman, take a look at: www.peruspiritadventure.com and find the perfect tour for you at the best price.
Although it is still not known with certainty who really built it, it is believed that it was built in the Inca period more than 500 years ago. Sacsayhuaman was a more important religious temple which would have been mistakenly referred to by the Spaniards for its huge walls as a military fortress.
Although Machu Picchu is the most famous Inca archaeological site in the world, Sacsayhuaman is technically the largest Inca structure built by the Incas.
According to local archaeologists the construction of Sacsayhuaman would have started under the emperor Pachacutec in the 15th century.
Its construction could have taken more than 60 years, according to local scholars.
The way in which the Incas built it was with the “Mita”, which was a form of service to the community, obligatory for every member of the empire.
The fortress has three different terraces that are situated one behind the other. The walls stand 18 meters high and stretch for 540 meters.
Curiously shaped stones can be found throughout the complex as proof that it was still being built or destroyed during the Spanish conquest.
However, it is important to clarify that its destruction was not only by the Spaniards but it was also demolished to pieces by the locals of the city of Cusco.
For many generations, the stones of Sacsayhuaman served as building material for the churches and houses in Cusco, until the 1940s.
Important Information about Sacsayhuaman
What to see in Sacsayhuaman?
The Towers of Sacsayhuaman
On top of the 3 zigzagging walls there are at present the remains of the bases of what would have been the towers facing the city od Cusco. These were called Muyuccmarca, Paucarmarca, Sallaqmarca.
After what took place during the Spanish conquest, not much remained of these three towers, however, there are stories from some Spanish chroniclers that tell us a little about the towers of Sacsayhuaman.
The complex of Sacsayhuaman is divided into three main areas: the walled fortress, the main square and the Rodadero (place of religious ceremonies).
These walls are also the reason why Sacsayhuaman is known as a fortress, its huge walls make it look like a defense or military structure.
The Large Gates
The entrance doors are huge in size, built with interlocking blocks placed one on top of the other. Due to the size of the gates it is widely speculated that they were built by giants.
Also known as a rodadero, a geological formation with volcanic origins. A dirorite rock that was modified by the Incas to form a slider for unknown purposes.
Exploring Sacsayhuaman you will find 2 tunnels or subterranean caves which connected with different places in Inca times.
Discover tunnels and Inca ruins around this area, the large tunnel is located at the north of the archaeological site, currently it is closed for security reasons because many people tried to go through it and never came back. But you can visit the small tunnel which is safer and is the shortest to go through.
Weather in Sacsayhuaman
The average annual temperature is 12°C
There are two seasons during the year, wet season and dry season, which is most convenient during the dry season from March to October.
Nowadays, Sacsayhuaman is a must-visit place in Cusco Perú
Which ticket do you need to visit Sacsayhuaman?
Boleto turistico or Tourist Pass
The tourist ticket is required to visit the Sacsayhuaman fortress.
The cost of the ticket varies according to the type of ticket you want.
Partial tourist ticket: Price 70 Peruvian soles or 20 US dollars.
Full tourist ticket: Price 130 Peruvian soles or 35 US dollars.
Sun Festival or Inti Raymi
Every year on June 24 specifically if your trip is on this date to Cusco do not miss this important event which gathers people from all over the world.
Every June, a traditional religious ceremony, Inti Raymi, is performed in Sacsayhuaman to thank the sun and the life it provides. The festival is one of the most important events in Cusco.
This celebration is carried out in the same way as the Incas did, but today its purpose is not the same, but rather it is an event of tradition and respect.