Sacsayhuaman: Mysteriously ascending citadel

South America seriously is the land of charmingly historical treasures of the past cultures and with Sacsayhuaman; this has become the widely accepted fact. But, there is something really unique of this site rather than just being a mysterious one. As against the famous archaeological sites such as Machu Picchu, this one is actually a stunning odd man out as it is the site of a series of several walls each built at the previous one’s rear wherein the latter appears bigger as compared to the former. So, due to this, Sacsayhuaman is referred to as the giant citadel featuring layered ruined walls nestled where San Cristobal and Cuzco regions meet. However, the site is near Cuzco from where a stroll is enough to reach the site that stretches on a great height, even higher than Machu Picchu.

From the above facts, it can easily conclude that this is now one of the over thronged sites in South America. And you can also make out as to why it is called a citadel, the reasons being its location at a great height due to which it has seen many wars and the appearance of extensive terrace. Now because of this wonderful location, no tourist goes back without enjoying the vistas of the town of Cuzco. However, your tour is not only restricted to Sacsayhuaman here as this area is of the Parque Arqueológico de Sacsayhuamán (national park) – the home of several more ruins.

Sacsayhuaman walls

Sacsayhuaman walls

The hillside citadel wanders on the hill such that as you go ahead and ahead, you get an illusion of climbing the hill at a high incline. This is one of the most commendable features of the Incan architecture that is already famous in the world of archaeology. Here, the wall stones that you can still see are considered as one of the largest pieces found during the prehispanic times. But, still the most appealing fact here is the supreme join accuracy of the closely attached stones, which cannot be seen anywhere else in the continent. Yes, the large pieces are so exactly joined that not a small piece of paper can enter in between. To this, just add the meticulousness of the hands, looping corners, inward incline, and intermingled shapes due to which no powerful earthquakes that are been experienced commonly here have shaken the foundation of these walls. Truly amazing! We got to learn something from our ancestors.

Besides ambling along the walls, other highlight is the ancient tower remains called Muyuc Marca as a set of three concentric wall relics linked to radial walls – evident by 34 line network meeting in the center. Contrasting with the rest that are rectangular, the middle one is circular. Look here for the three water channels that must have served the purpose of feeding the middle reservoir. Additional attractions here include green plaza, the Rodadero offering several benches and staircase to the Inca throne, mazes, channels, vaulted niches, tunnels, and waterways. Tip: Ascend up to the throne and enjoy the beautiful vistas across the plaza that was once a parade and the zigzag walls.

Sacsayhuaman refers to ‘The Satisfied Falcon’, but this site was used by the Incas for celebrating Inti Raymi, the Festival of Sun on every June 24. This was day of performing ceremonial events wherein the lucky ones used to play the role of the legendary characters such as Mama Occla as well as Sapa Inca (husband and wife), for which they were admired a lot. The Sapa started the ceremony by asking for the sun’s sanction by being in the square before the Santo Domingo church over the ancient Sun Temple. During this festival, the main draw was a procession that used to bring the Sapa up to the golden throne for giving a holy speech.

This festival is still celebrated even today on the same day, but is now transformed into a modern-day celebration with some vital traditions still prevailing. If you want to explore the ruins, come on this day. Enjoy the whole day with the locals, but at night when the entire ruins are floodlit, you simply enjoy this spectacle all alone; which is the most awaited time here.

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