saqsayhuaman city tour

Cusco City Tour

Visit Inca ceremonial religious and administrative sites, military stations and astronomical observatories. Remote short Inca Trails, hiking adventures and historical tours explorations, nature and different ecosystems, flora and fauna.

The Inca Civilization, the Great Empire: These people were descendants of the Sun in the Cuzco area, where the legendary first Sapa Inca, Manco Capac, founded the Kingdom of Cuzco around 1200. Under the leadership of the descendants of Manco Capac, the Inca state grew to absorb other Andean communities. In 1442, under the command of Patchacutec, who founded the Inca Empire “Tawantinsuyu”, the Incas began a far-reaching expansion, which became the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.

Itinerary

We pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your hotel to catch up on your sleep and a cup of coca tea, which helps with acclimatizing to the altitude. The rest of the morning is free. During the afternoon, after a good lunch, we shall start the City Tour to see part of the capital of the Inca Empire. We will visit several religious retreats and sanctuaries dating from Inca times. The Temple of Koricancha “The Temple of Gold” was the center of the Inca religion as the formal temple of the Sun it figures among the different temples that were dedicated to various gods of the Inca religion. Koricancha was the main temple built in the 1200s and rebuilt in the 1400s by Pachacutec, the 9th Inca leader. Similar to the Greek Parthenon, this is where all deities were. Just as Mecca is sacred to Muslims, Koricancha was sacred to the Incas who all visited at least once in a lifetime. The extraordinary masonry is an impressive example of Inca engineering and architecture: stones were cut precisely, assembled with extremely narrow joints, and needing no mortar. It is thought that there were temples dedicated to the sun, moon, stars, and rainbows, that this is where solar priests and priestesses lived. This ceremonial site held Inca religious idols and idols of people that they had conquered. The stone for this building came from nearby quarries. The stone is varied and includes andesite, basal diorite and red perfidious granite, volcanic and metamorphic rock. The shape, the angles and the polishing were masterful. Here the Inca solar priest conducted rituals and high ceremonies dedicated to gods and sun worship. Religious artifacts have been found here. Much of the temples were cover with gold, silver, and precious stones positioned in ways relevant to solar and astronomical events. Only people with status, nobility or royalty were permitted to visit here. In 1540 Dominicans built a monastery and convent on the using the Inca ruins and imposed Christianity. Although the Inca were forced out, today you can see the marvelous and amazing work of the Incas.

We will visit the fortress of Saqsayhuaman, which was a Militar, ceremonial, religious and astronomical site. Saqsayhuaman was built with limestone brought from nearby quarries using rollers, ropes, ramps, and manpower. The stone was carved very precisely and required no mortar. This is one of the best examples of Inca masonry. The stones vary in size and they weigh between 20 and 80 tons. Excavations here yielded human remains, mummies, religious paraphernalia, and statuettes of idols that symbolize deities, men, and women. This is where, on June 21st , the Winter Solstice captures the first rays of the sun and from here the rays continue all the way to the imperial city of Cusco, forming the sacred figure of the Solar Puma. Saqsayhuaman was the head of the puma and considered to be a sacred animal. Saqsayhuaman has three angled walls that form a zig zag shape. Garcilazo de la Vega, a mixed race Inca writer from the 1600s, claimed there were three towers at the top of the slope with rectangular, square, and circular shapes (temple of the sun) that reached a height of 15 meters and had various uses. At Saqsayhuaman the Incas defended and fought Spanish forces for control of the Inca capital during the Conquest of Cusco. Under the leadership of Manco Inca, despite fighting with great fury and energy against the invading Spanish forces in 1534, this marked the beginning of the collapse of the Inca Empire. The battles continued to the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo before the Incas retreated to the rain forest in Vilcabamba where they remained for 36 years until the last Inca was captured in 1572. We will visit several shrines, or huacas such as “Qenqo”, which were ceremonial and ritualistic places and we will see a section of an original Inca trail that was part of the network of routes called “Capac Ñan” in Cusco, the Capital of the Inca Empire. Beautiful buildings were built that were occupied by royalty, nobility and important people and their entourages. These were palaces, religious retreats, plazas, ceremonial places, astronomical observatories and they also served as military stations, store houses, granaries, and terraces for farming, all connected by Inca roads. Construction included existing rock, the small valley itself, and the mountain. Fine masonry and well carved, well-polished stonework, all assembled without mortar. The work was done by laborers from elsewhere who used ramps, rollers, and manpower.

Here there will also some good opportunities to see the Giant Hummingbird “Patagonia Gigas”, the Rufus-Collared sparrow “Zonotrichia Capensis”, the native tree called Queoña “Polilepis sp” and the Chachacomo “Scallonia recinosa” all from pre-Colombian times and found in the Andes.
Also in this area are the Great Thrush, Flower Piercers, Tanagers, Seedeaters, Stripe-Headed Brush Finch, Kestrels, Siskins, Fly-catchers, Tangaras, and more.

The flora includes many species of Bromeliads “Puya Densiflora”, Passiflora, Begonias, Fuchsias, and numerous Compositae. There are countless numbers of Orchids including varieties of Wiñay Wayna “Epidendrum Secundum”, many of the Solanaceae, Myrtaceae, Scrophularias, and moreNote: We can recommend the best and comfortable hotels for you or we can book the hotel for you.

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