Inca Trail Tours » Cusco » Saqsaywaman


Cusco, Saqsaywaman

Located 2km from the city. This monumental complex is considered the first of the new seven wonders of the world. The original name of this site causes controversy existing many interpretations. The form stated by tradition is Saqsaywaman (in the native language accent is in "wa") that comes from the Quechua verb "saqsay"= to satiate or to get satiated, and the noun "waman"= falcon; thence, in a narrow sense as it is found with the imperative verb, it means "get satiated falcon". Some others believe that the name is Saqsawaman that is derived from "saqsa"= marbled, speckled, and "waman"= falcon; in the Quechua language the noun goes after the adjective, thus, it would mean "marbled falcon".

Likewise, history demonstrates that Qosqo (Cusco) City had the shape of a puma (cougar or mountain lion) which head was formed by this complex. So, its name is perhaps a deformation of Saqsauma that comes from "saqsa"= marbled, and "uma"= head; meaning like this "marbled head".

The fortress of Saqsaywaman, a major feat of Inka engineering, was built on a hill west of Cuzco city, and included a Sun Temple in finely worked stone. Its erection demanded the efforts of tens of thousands of workers equipped with only a few metal tools.

The Saqsaywaman was primarily protected by three massive terraced walls, rising over sixty feet and built in a zig-zag fashion in order to break up attacking forces. Within the terraced walls were three huge towers, the largest of which had a rectangular base sixty-five feet long and rising up five storeys.

It could comfortably house over 5,000 soldiers and was described by later Spanish historians as having "too many rooms and towers for one person to visit them all". Saqsaywaman was built as more than a military fortress - the entire population of the unwalled city of Cuzco could have retreated within it during times of war.

Modern-day Sacsahuaman is a poor comparison, with only a portion of the defending outer walls and the foundations of the three main towers remaining. Conquistadors deliberately destroyed most of the fortress by 1560, though eyewitnesses before that time claimed that it would have ranked as one of the wonders of the world. One great stone remaining in the outer wall is 8.5 m. high and estimated to weigh 360 tons