Sacsayhuamán is one of the most amazing Incan constructions for tourists. Its Quechua name means "satisfied falcon", it was the falcon that guarded the capital of the empire, since it was possible to overlook Cusco from the hill in where it was erected. If, as it is known, Cusco was designed with the shape of a lying puma, Sacsayhuamán would be its head, and the Coricancha would correspond to the feline's genitalia.
It is said that the work was started by Pachacútec and continued by Túpac Yupanqui, even though some chroniclers state that it was Huayna Cápac who gave it the final touch. Inca Garcilaso de la Vega says that Apu Huallpa Rimachi was the main architect, and that Inca Maricanhi, Acahuana Inca and Calla Cunchuy successively took control of the works.
Its construction took over seven decades and required the work of 20,000 men approximately, both for the foundations and hewn stone works, the transportation of materials, carving and stones setting. Hewn stones could have been located at Muina, Huacoto and Rumicolca, 20 kilometers away from Cusco, and at closer places such as Sallu, Rumi, Chita, Curovilca and Viracocha. Some of its external walls exceed the 9 meters of height and 350 tons of weight.
Spectacular fortress built with huge carved rocks jointed with absolute accuracy, this astounding sample of the Incan military architecture is, undoubtedly, the greatest architectonic work of the Tahuantinsuyo. But, in addition, it proves the undeniable firmness of the great administrative capacity of the empire and its powerful logistic system capable of mobilizing and organizing such a work.
As of the Spaniards arrival its aspect has changed a lot, since this fortress was used as a hewn stone to build the colonial Cusco.
The architectonic complex occupies the edge of the northern slope of the city of Cusco. The southern side of the building was enclosed by a polished wall of almost 400 meters long. The eastern and western borders of the temple were delimited by other walls and cultivation terraces. The main front of the building faces the north and is protected by a formidable system of three cultivation terraces. They are supported by zigzagging walls constituted by large stones that amazed their first visitors and which even now surprise us. According to Inca Garcilaso, these walls were constructed to demonstrate the Incan power.
From Sacsayhuamán, it is possible to obtain a spectacular view of the Sacred City and its surroundings. Besides, you will be able to distinguish summits such as those from the Ausangate, the Pachatusán and the Cinca, places that are believed to be inhabited by apus or powerful spirits that govern the mountains.