One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the western hemisphere, Cuzco was the political and religious capital of the Inca Empire of Tawantinsuyu, meaning 'Four Quarters of the Earth'.
Did you know that situated at an elevation of 11,150 feet, Cuzco was laid out on a grid plan in the shape of a puma, a sacred mountain lion?? The pre-Inca site of Sacsayhuaman, on a plateau on the northern edge of the city, forms the head of the puma and the Coricancha temple forms the center of the grid.
Sacsayhuaman is one of the most imposing architectonic complexes inherited from the Incan Societyand because of several of its qualities it is considered one of the best monuments that mankind built on the earth's surface!!
Sacsayhuaman was supposedly completed around 1508 and apparently it took a crew of 20,000 to 30,000 men working for 60 years.
Here is a mystery:
The chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega was born around 1530, and raised in the shadow of these walls. And yet he seems not to have had a clue as to how Sacsayhuaman was built.
"....this fortress surpasses the constructions known as the seven wonders of the world. For in the case of a long broad wall like that of Babylon, or the colossus of Rhodes, or the pyramids of Egypt, or the other monuments, one can see clearly how they were executed...how, by summoning an immense body of workers and accumulating more and more material day by day and year by
year, they overcame all difficulties by employing human effort over a long period. But it is indeed beyond the power of imagination to understand now these Indians, unacquainted with devices, engines, and implements, could have cut, dressed, raised, and lowered great rocks, more like lumps of hills than building stones, and set them so exactly in their places. For this reason, and because the Indians were so familiar with demons, the work is attributed to enchantment."
Surely a few of those 20,000 labourers were still around when Garcilaso was young. Was everyone struck with amnesia? Or is Sacsayhuaman much older than we've been led to believe? Hmm ........another mystery????
Okay guys, get ready for your 4 day Inca Trail trek.....it's only 30 km!!!