Sacsayhuaman is an impressive Inca fortress on a steep hill that overlooks all of Cusco. The ruins are humongous, but archeologists believe that the original site was as much as four times larger. What remains today are the impressive outer walls constructed in a zigzag formation across three levels. As with many Inca sites, the walls are made from massive, irregularly-shaped boulders that stick together like a jigsaw puzzle without any additional support. The stones are laid together so tightly that a sheet of paper will not fit into many of the cracks. As the night comes down, this is a perfect location to appreciate the stars.
By Ana Paula Bedoya, AFAR Local Expert
Inca stonework, seismically sound
Staying in a hotel in Cuzco, my wife and I got to examine the famed Inca stonework up close; one of the walls in our room was composed of the original Inca foundation--interlocking stones fit so precisely, without mortar, built with no metal tools... Andean history makes up the literal foundations of this Peruvian city: the colonial Spanish architecture sits atop the Inca foundations that line the streets. The pre-columbian architects knew how to build. In the numerous earthquakes that have shaken Cuzco over the centuries since the Spanish conquest, the European architecture topples every time; the Inca walls have never fallen. (Above: on the left--the famous 12-angled stone on a side street in Cuzco; center--the 'jaguar's paw' in Sacsayhuaman fortress in the hills above the city; right--a typical Inca-stone-lined street in the historic center.)
By Joseph Cyr, AFAR Local Expert
The Sexiest Ruins
I really felt the high altitude here and had to stop few feet and catch my breath but you'll get the best view of Cusco if you climb up and over the actual ruins. The ruins themselves date to the 1400's and are called "Sexy Woman Ruins" by most visiting English speakers. An easy way to remember how to pronounce it! The stones and boulders show off staggering Inca handiwork with each one carved to fit perfectly together without mortar. I say it is impossible for some of the boulders to have been moved by humans, yet they made it happen.
By Annie Fitzsimmons, AFAR Contributor
Sacsayhuaman is just outside of Cusco. An ancient Incan fortress, it has such history and is just beautiful and so much fun to explore.
By AFAR Traveler
Plaza de Armas
Cusco as seen from Sacsayhuaman.
Meeting the Incas at Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun)
Our recent trip to Peru was cleverly planned around the festivities of Inti Raymi - The Festival of the Sun. Wow, what a week it was, immersed in festivities, parades, music and celebrations we felt like we really got to know the culture. The festival is on 24 June each year and you need to book early as Cusco gets busy. Here's a little taste of the music and atmosphere http://www.worldwideadventurers.com/travel-videos
The ancient ceremonial site at Sacsayhuaman.
The giant stones at this site are very impressive. Just a short trip from Cuzco it is worth the trip to see this anciet Incan site.
By Doug Hansen
Sacsayhuamán's Slippery Slope
This natural rock formation has been giving people thrills for centuries, and when you visit Sacsayhuamán, you can help keep it polished to a high shine by taking a slide yourself. A hard-won note, however: don't try to slow yourself down by using your hands. Doing so may cause you to catch a fingernail in a fissure and rip it pretty much off. Use your heels instead.
By Gina Czupka
The View from Sacsayhuaman
I despise steps as much as you (if not more), and they’re especially no picnic at 11,000 feet, but reaching the Sacsayhuaman is worth the pain. If you opt instead for a taxi, iPeru recommends Llama Taxi (222000) and Alo Cusco (222222). And they say coming here alone is safe as long as you avoid early morning or night. There’s an admission fee, and if you’re continuing on to the ruins of the Sacred Valley later, buy the pricier Boleto Turistico ($55) now. Sacsayhuaman offers a spectacular view of Cusco. Incredible Trip to Peru: http://bit.ly/11IZdBX
By esme travels
As the capital of the ancient Inca Empire, Cuzco has several ruins in the surrounding area that are worth visiting. The fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman, just a short drive from the city center of Cuzco, is one of them. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of massive boulders and smaller rocks that fit together perfectly. Visitors can freely walk around and explore the ruins. I would recommend going with a guide to learn more about the history. When visiting Sacsayhuaman, make sure to check out the overlooking view of Cuzco—one of the best panoramic scenes of the city.
By Grace Renner