IncaTrailTours.org

Inca Trail Tours » Other sites » Choquequirao

Choquequirao


Cusco, Choquequirao

Considered like the last Inca Refuge who resisted per decades to the Spanish conquerors. This architectonic compound was built over an area of 1810 hectares in the district of Santa Teresa, Province of La Convencion (Cusco), on the summit of a mountain reaching 3085 metres above sea level.

Some of the impressive features of Choquequirao, the other Machu Picchu, are the amazing stone walls protecting it, the greenness of their fabulous land shelves , and all that atmosphere charged with energy probably coming from old ceremonies where they adored the Sun.

The total area of palaces, temples, sources, canals and aqueduct is still unknown. Only 30% of this huge complex is explored. The rest is covered by vegetation and is waiting for its discovery. Choquequirao, in Spanish “Golden Cradle”, offers an amazing bio-diversity, and with a little bit of luck we can see the majestic condor or a spectacled bear.

The total area of palaces, temples, sources, canals and aqueduct is still unknown. Only 30% of this huge complex is explored. The rest is covered by vegetation and is waiting for its discovery. Choquequirao, in Spanish “Golden Cradle”, offers an amazing bio-diversity, and with a little bit of luck we can see the majestic condor or a spectacled bear.

Choquequirao (from the Quechua word chuquik´iraw "Cradle of Gold") was the last stronghold of the Incas' resistance to the Spanish domain. The stonewalls surrounding this ancient religious, political and social centre of the Empire, are mostly covered with underbrush, thus giving you the sense of being one of the first explorers reaching it. Its construction dates back to the first half of the XVth Century, and it is in 1536 that it turns into a haven for the descendants of the Incas for more than 40 years.

The site was most likely built during the reign of the Inca king Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui or Pachacutec and is considered to be the last bastion of resistance and refuge of the Sons of the Sun who fled from the city of Cusco when it was under siege in 1535. Led by Manco Inca Yupanqui or Manco Qhapac II they took refuge in Choquequirao. Presumably it was used as a check point for access to the Vilcabamba Area and as a cultural and religious center for the region. The city also played an important roll as link between the Amazon Jungle and the city of Cusco

For centuries Choquequirao lay shrouded in obscurity, protected by its remoteness. Unlike Machu Picchu, people knew it was there – it was first mentioned in a Spanish document of 1710, later visited by various explorers and treasure hunters, and roughly surveyed in the 19th century by the French consul in Lima, Leonce Angrand. Finally, in 1909, the indefatigable U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham –the future scientific discoverer of Machu Picchu -- explored and mapped the site.

Today you trek to Choquequirao via a modern footbridge across the Apurimac River. The journey is as awe-inspiring as ever, taking us through an astounding range of ecological zones, from Andean farming valleys, descending through a hot and arid canyon environment featuring kapock trees, cactus and agaves, and climbing again to a region of lush cloud forest, beneath the dizzying snowcaps of the Cordillera Vilcabamba.