When the Spanish conquered the Incas, stone from this impressive site was removed and taken down into the city to help construct the Spanish churches and houses the new occupiers needed.
Still, the site is impressive. The largest stone on the site is estimated to be between 120-200 tons. How did the Incas transport such heavy stones??
Apart from the impressive feat of transporting the stones, the masonry is phenomenal. No mortar is used and the fit is so tight that a piece paper won’t even fit between most of the stones.
The stones were cut in such a way to be earthquake resistant. Several earthquakes later, the site still stands as a testament to Incan architecture.
Given its position, many people think it was a fortress outpost to protect the city of Cusco. Scholars believe it was constructed in the shape of a puma – an animal considered sacred by the Incas.
Today, Peruvians use the site to celebrate winter solstice, which was New Year’s Day for the Incas. The celebrations take place on June 24th.
Right next to Saqsaywaman is a large statue of Jesus that looks down over the city of Cusco. It resembles Christ The Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, but the origin isn’t what you’d expect.
Thousands of Palestinian Christians sought refuge in Cusco. I couldn’t find when they came, but when they left in 1945 they left this statue to thank their hosts in Cusco.
About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.