Latinamerica Collection
Regions And Archaeological Sites Of Peru

Cusco Region

 

Sacsahuamán
Situated 3 kilometers north of the city, this cyclopean fortress was used to protect Cusco. It consists of three large 300 meter long walls built with huge blocks of stone with angles that fit into each other perfectly, without any mortar or adhesive whatsoever. Many of them are 5 meters high, and there is one that is 9 meters high and weighs 360 tons. The differences in the shape, size and type of these stones are noteworthy, making this stronghold a masterpiece of Incan stone architecture.

 

Kenko
Under five kilometers from Cusco, this is a religious center with a very complex shape, formed by protruding rocks and a semicircular amphitheater with about twenty stone seats.

 

Puca Pucará
Seven kilometers from Cusco, this is a military construction comprised of terraces and staircases.

 

Tambomachay
Eight kilometers from Cusco, it is comprised of three finely carved stone terraces. Known as "Baños del Inca" (Inca Baths), it was most likely a place to worship water.

 


Sacred Valley of the Incas
 

Pisac
Thirty one kilometers from Cusco at an altitude of 2,970 meters, this site is famous for its Sunday fairs which attract a large number of visitors, and for its admirably well preserved ruins. On the slopes of a mountain that dominates the Vilcanota there are benched terraces of different sizes and heights, separated by fortresses, urban developments, esplanades, food storehouses and temples. The most noteworthy of these complexes is located at the top of the mountain (3,300 meters) formed by the famous Intihuatana - "the hitching post of the sun" - a violet colored rock used as a solar clock placed in an enclosure made with beautifully worked stones.

 

Yucay
This is one of the most beautiful places in the valley, inhabited in ancient times by the Tawantinsuyo "runas" or populace. There you find the Palace of Inca Manco Sayry Tupac II, a stone and adobe construction with decorative designs in high and low relief.

 

Ollantaytambo
This site is located 97 kilometers from Cusco by road and 65 kilometers by train. After visiting the town designed by the Incas, entry to the fortress is via a very steep stone staircase. After circling an esplanade there is a temple with ten niches and a block of unfinished stonework. The Temple of the Sun is in another esplanade, formed by six enormous rectangular monoliths (estimated to weigh about 50 tons); there are vestiges of rooms on the other side of the hill and a four storey building that may have been a military school or a prison.

 

Chinchero (Rainbow)
Thirty kilometers from Cusco, at an altitude of 3762 meters, surrounded by snowcapped mountains, this very colorful fair is held on Sundays, and the natives carry out the same barter trade practices as in the olden days and they also wear traditional costumes. The walls of the fortress, the Inca palace, the trapezoidal niches and a beautiful colonial church give this town an extraordinary charm.

 


Others
 

Machu Picchu
Located 120 kilometers from Cusco at an altitude of 2,400 meters and between Huayna Picchu or "young mountain" and Machu Picchu or "old mountain", set within the grandiose framework provided by the lush vegetation of the nearby jungle and the rugged topography, Machu Picchu comes into view, one of the greatest archaeological monuments in the world. Its temples, palaces, walls and remarkable architecture set into the steep slopes of the mountain were revealed to the world by North American anthropologist Hiram Bingham in 1911. Its history and functions continue to be an enigma.

 

Caral
Situated 180 kilometers north of Lima and considered the oldest culture in the Americas, it is the first great culture that began the civilization process in Peru and the third in the world after Mesopotamia and Egypt. Caral is an enormous archaeological complex covering 66 hectares, containing scaled pyramids, circular sunken squares, residential areas, and an area of geoglyphs.

 

Chavín de Huántar
Located in the Conchucos Canyon 110 kilometers from Huaraz (Ancash) and 500 kilometers north of Lima, it is the main temple of the Chavin culture, dating back three thousand years. It was a great oracle visited by pilgrims from various parts of the Andes. It has two pyramids built in different periods, with underground passages, terraces, stairways and squares.

 

Kuélap
Situated at 3,000 meters and built on the top of a rugged mountain that dominates the narrow Urubamba river valley, Kuelap is an impressive fortress on 6 hectares of land, comprised of more than 400 circular shaped dwellings with sloping straw roofs as well as ceremonial and administrative buildings. Its tallest surrounding walls are twenty meters high.

 

Temples of the Sun and Moon
An archaeological complex on sixty hectares of land, situated on the shores of the Moche river five kilometers from Trujillo it consists of two main pyramids standing opposite each other, the remains of an urban settlement and a cemetery. It was the most important political and religious center of the Mochica culture during the I and VI centuries A.D. On the walls of the Temple of the Moon - the only one that is open to visitors - beautiful polychrome murals of animals and deities can be appreciated, as well as scenes of cults, sacrifices and battles. In 2006, it received the Queen Sofia International Award for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage.

 

Chan-Chan
Capital of the Chimu culture that flourished between the XII and XIV centuries, situated five kilometers from Trujillo and considered the largest ancient mud-brick city. Its current perimeter is about 15 km. It is comprised of palaces, passages, patios, places of worship, water reservoirs, gardens and squares. Ten well-defined complexes have been identified, the most well-known one being the Tschudi Citadel with walls decorated with lines representing ocean waves. It was declared a heritage of mankind in 1986.

 

Huaca Rajada and Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum
The discovery of an intact tomb of a Mochica ruler known as the Lord of Sipan in the Huaca Rajada complex situated forty kilometers from Chiclayo was one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries in Peru and the world. The dazzling funeral attire included gold, silver and copper diadems, necklaces, breastplates and crowns, as well as banners, garments, feather ornaments and vessels, all of which have been exhibited in the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum since 2002. The museum itself is an imposing three story pyramid-shaped building in the Lambayeque province, designed to be a replica of a Mochica sanctuary.

 

Nasca Lines
Traced more than 1,800 years ago on a 50 kilometers long sandy surface between the towns of Palpa and Nasca in the department of Ica (south of Lima), the Nasca lines continue to be one of the most bewildering archaeological mysteries in the world. They consist of 30 centimeter deep furrows dug into the sand, representing figures of various animals and plants - a spider, a monkey, a dog, a fox, an iguana, a humming bird, a condor, and more - all forming a huge maze of lines, spirals, zigzags, triangles and quadrangles. The extraordinary dimension and characteristics of these lines, which are only clearly visible from the air, attract a great many tourists to this area.