Monday, September 26, 2022

Peru Day 5: Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Tambomachay, and Puka Pukara


Today we had a half-day Viator tour of Cusco. Here is our tour guide, José, talking about the great fitted stones here at our first stop: Saqsaywaman, marking that this was a sacred place, or huaca, for the Incas.

The entire Incan Empire was laid out in the shape of a puma with Saqsaywaman as the head and the Sun Temple as the eye.

Suchuna Hill, said to resemble a woman lying down, is the more natural part of the landscape here.

On the other side lies the ruins of the fortress with its great stone blocks.
In Quechua, Saqsaywaman means "satisfied" or "full" (saqsay) "falcon" (waman), perhaps due to the fortress walls resembling the outstretched wings of a falcon.

The impressive stone blocks are meticulously cut and fit together without any mortar.

The ruins of the Sun Temple, with the circular inner room there forming the eye of Saqsaywaman's puma head.

A great view up on top of the ruins.

We found one archway that's still standing.

Our next stop was Q'enqo, meaning labyrinth, another huaca or sacred place for the Incas.

Venturing down into the cavern.

This is where Incan ritual sacrifices and mummifications took place underground, close to Mother Earth.

We arrived next at Tambomachay.

A series of aqueducts and canals direct the natural springs to these fountains.

This was either used for religious purification, or as a royal spa, or both.

Possible ruins of a tower.

On our way out we saw this woman with these baby lambs so we gave her a few Soles to get some pictures with them.

So cute.

Puka Pukara, or the Red Fortress.

This site was likely a military fortress and waystation for messengers to stay during their journeys.

It also seems like a good location to serve as a checkpoint, to keep an eye on those traveling the roads.

We saw this large flock of sheep grazing across the hillside near where we parked.

For our last stop, José took us to the same place we visited on Saturday so we got to see the llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas again.

Here is their display of yarns with the different materials to make those dyes.

Our tour continued on to Qorikancha but unfortunately, our flight back home was previously changed from Tuesday morning to Monday afternoon and our half-day tour was running long so we had to leave the tour van early.

Fortunately the tour van drove right through central Cusco, right by our hotel, so we said our goodbyes and jumped out at a red light so we could collect our luggage and head off to the airport.

So we rushed to the Cusco airport to check in for our flight... and planes were grounded due to weather. At first we didn't know what was going on. The line at the check-in counter was at a standstill and they weren't taking any more passengers, so we were getting real worried, looking at the clock, and afraid we'd miss our flight. After a few hours we were able to fly to Lima, then catch our flight home the next morning. I wish we had finished our half-day tour in Cusco, but this was such a fun trip to Peru!