Everything you need to know about Sacsayhuaman Fortress

Sacsayhuaman is one of the grandest buildings in the world. It is a citadel on the northern outskirts of Cusco, Peru, the historic capital of the Inca realm. The complex was constructed by the Inca in the 15th century, particularly under Pachacuti and his successors.

Sacsayhuaman is one of mystery. Even before the 30,000-year-old writing was discovered, the architectural style is such a mystery that the Spaniards claimed that it was a work of ghosts at first sight. The building consists of drywalls constructed with huge stones. It is rumored that more than 20 thousand men mined the stones from nearby quarries and carried them for about 20 kilometers to the hill of the city of Cusco. Sacsayhuaman has sacred buildings, including; shrines, residential buildings, warehouses, towers, roads, and aqueducts. That is why the harmony of the landscape is similar to other sacred Inca places like Machu Picchu.

The fortified complex has a comprehensive view of the valley to the southeast. The large plaza can hold thousands of people, and it was designed for communal ceremonial activities.  Some of the large structures may have been used during rituals.

The archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman is located about 2 kilometers north of the Main Square of the Cusco. It is located about 3,700 meters above sea level. That extends over an area of ​​more than 3000 hectares, on a hill surrounded by mountains. The place has beautiful landscapes with abundant vegetation and animals. Sacsayhuaman sits about 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco (by car) or 45 minutes walk. You can also opt to take a ‘City Tour.’ This includes transportation to the archaeological place. The entrance should be the Tourist Ticket of Cusco.

History od Sacsayhuaman fortress.

Archaeologists speculate that sections of Sacsayhuamán were initially built during the 15th century. The Imperial Inca expanded on this settlement by building dry stone walls constructed using huge stones. The stones used were amongst the largest ever used in any building in Pre-Hispanic America. They were precisely cut and fit so closely that even a piece of paper could not fit between most of the stones. The precision combined with the rounded corners of the blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward is typical of the Inca architectural style. It is thought to have helped the ruins survive devastating earthquakes in Cuzco. The established volume of stone is over 6,000 cubic meters. That estimates for the weight of the largest andesite block vary from 128 tonnes to almost 200 tonnes

After Cusco was besieged, Spaniards started to demolish the complex. They used the stones at Sacsayhuaman for building Spanish Cuzco. They destroyed block after block and used them as material to make the colonial city’s new Spanish religious and governmental buildings. The wealthiest of the Spaniards also used the stone to build their houses.

Only stones too big to be moved remain at the site today.


What to See in Sacsayhuaman?

Aside from the fantastic view of Cusco, Sacsayhuaman has many other sights to offer;

The Inca throne

The Inca throne, or K’usilluc Jink’ian, is a stone structure in the form of a bench. Polished symmetrically with a great perfection that the dimension of ‘Throne’ was gained.

The Towers

The towers Muyucmarca, Sallaqmarca, and Paucamarca, are located on the walls in a zigzag style. It is known that this place had abundant water. Today, you can see the aqueducts going through.

The Walls

The walls are perfectly fit together with stones that are so precisely cut and match closely that even a piece of paper could not sit. Historians believe that the first Spaniards who saw these walls attributed their construction to demons. It is a mystery how such huge stones were fit so elaborately. The largest stone is said to weigh about 128 tons. That, among other complexities, makes Sacsayhuaman a top-tier mystery.

The doors

Each door at Sacsayhuaman has its own name: Ajawanapunku, T’iopunku and Wiracochapunku. They are designed in a trapezoidal shape and served as entrances to the tower area.

Group of Enclosures

These are rooms supported on the hill a short distance from the towers. They face towards the Plaza de Armas of the city of Cusco. Trapezoidal doors interconnect them.


The ‘chincanas’ are also known as tunnels or underground caves in Sacsayhuaman. There are two, the most miniature measuring around 15 meters, which is an excellent distraction for so many travelers. The large one is found north of the complex. According to tales, many people tried to find the end of the most extensive tunnel and not succeeded. It is widely believed that this tunnel leads to the Coricancha (Temple of the Sun). The entrance to this Chicana is currently closed.

Where to eat in Sacsayhuaman?

The Laguna Azul

The Laguna Azul “Blue Lagoon” restaurant is located on the edge of the great Inca complex. It has a massive zigzag wall and sits in a different complex that attracts tourists of different ages. Its adobe walls and tile roof may look old to an outsider, but this follows modern trends that have spread through Peru like a hurricane from the coast.

It shares its name with an old movie, an old film of teenagers coming of age while stranded on an idyllic Pacific atoll. Still, locals often call it the “piscigranja” or “fish-farm” because its artificial pond roils with trout.

The restaurant serves ceviche “fresh fish” and has beautiful scenery with a garden around the pond and inside dining space. Ceviche is a top dish nationwide and increasingly a symbol of national identity.  Fresh fish is not readily available in the country’s highlands, despite the increase in air transport.

The Peruvian culture is one for the museum, each city explicit with a rich history. The tales of how Sacsayhuaman came to existence is one that belongs in fantasy novelty. The friendly nationals make for a great ecstacy as you roam the streets, making the trip a worthwhile memory to tell.



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