Cusco- Saqsaywaman Ruins

Saqsaywaman was considered a fortress on a hill with about a 1000 warriors overlooking the city of Cusco. Spelled in various phonetic ways the name from the Quechua language in one translation means royal falcon or hawk and another as “place were the hawk is satiated’.  From above it’s supposed to be in the shape of a puma.  Possibly built in the  early 15th century.

After lunch at the Andean grill I look for a good path to Saqsaywaman ruins. The ruins are up on a hill overlooking Cusco at  3700m or about another 1000ft higher and the distance is about 0.7 miles from Plaza de Armas.

The way there is all narrow street steps as I struggle with the gain and the thin air,  stopping every so often to catch my breath. I’m thinking this is a good warm-up for Machu Picchu. Luckily the views along the way are rewarding.

Reaching the last street before the Saqsaywaman entrance there’s a view of all Cusco and a welcoming dog.

The entry fee for Saqsaywaman was 70 soles. This covers several other nearby ruins as well but I won’t have time for those.

Even before the ticket both you’ll see this wall of large stones fitted together perfectly. They’re limestone from a quarry a couple kilometers away. The stones were cut using expansion and contraction by fire and bronze tools. Transport was via llamas, alpacas, wood rollers and thousands of people. It is said about 20,000 people a day for 40 years to complete this fortress. These stones are fitted together without mortar. The interlocking stone shapes and slight inward lean prevents damage from earthquakes.

I take my time looking around feeling relaxed on this sunny but not to warm day. I typically feel a combined sense of tranquilty and awe whenever I visit remarkable ancient places.

I see this grouping of llamas ( or Alpacas?) and head over to take pictures before other people get there. They’re pretty tame and used to tourists.

Although I’m still having trouble discerning between the two. Alpacas are supposed to be a little fluffier, smaller, with better dispositions than llamas.

Watching intensely I see other people get really close to the llamas and one of them spits at a women and everyone is laughing pretty hard. They are known to spit but seeing and hearing it is hilarious.

One interesting view is seeing the Christ statue in the backdrop of the ruins for a contrast of times.

Making my way back to Plaza de Armas I take a different and random path. There are streets with aancient Inca stones still present but have been built upon.

Look at the way these large stones are fitted together!

Back at the hostel I have a cool drink while watching a few people try and get the large washing machine up a ramp to get over the steps. Taking them about 20 min to do this I’m wondering the whole time. I’m watching this thinking about the massive stones at the Inca ruins and how they moved them. Was it as difficult a time as these guys were having?

I welcome your inputs!