Qenko and Tambomachay are two interesting sites in Cusco that I went to. I combined them for this article because neither place has much meat to its story.
Tambomachay, which means resting place in Quechua, stands 3765m/12,350ft above sea level just outside of Cusco.
Scholars think the Incas constructed the site to worship water and as a place for the king to rest – in other words, a spa.
It’s a series of canals, waterfalls, and aquaducts that result in two perfectly equal streams of water. You can put a bucket under each source of water and watch as each fills up at the same time.
Equally impressive is that the water, which comes from the nearby mountains, is still clean enough to drink directly without filtration.
There was also a royal garden here before.
Qenko stands 3580m/11,750ft above sea level in the Sacred Valley of Cusco. It’s name comes from the Quechua word for maze. The site is expansive, but features a labyrinth with walls made of stone. It is believed that inside this labyrinth, deep inside, sacrifices and mummification took place.
It was a bit spooky. When I was there, the guide told us to touch the stone where, it was believed, sacrifices and mummification took place. It was completely freezing. I don’t know why it was unnaturally cold, but interesting.
That room for sacrifices/mummification was also designed so that the rays of the sun would shine on the rock supporting the body exactly at sunrise and sunset. Impressive.