NAME: Sacsaywaman (satisfiedd falcon)
ALTITUDE: 3 600 masl.


The construction of Sacsayhuaman was begun by the ninth Inka: Pachakuteq, that is, after 1438. In spite of the many criticisms he got, Garcilaso Inca de la Vega (1539-1616) gives most of the information and better describes the monument. Garcilaso was the son of Isabel Chimpu Oqllo, a Quechua princess who was the first cousin of Inka Atawallpa, and the Spanish Captain Garcia Lasso de la Vega, related to the Spanish nobility. Garcilaso wrote that its construction lasted about 50 years until the Wayna Qhapaq’s period; so when Spaniards arrived it was completely finished and fully in use. Pedro Cieza de Leon asserts that for its construction about 20 thousand men were brought and that the different towns must have sent “necessary supplies” for their sustenance. That was not a permanent crew, because workers were replaced temporarily. In the Inkan Society, there were no slaves as in the Old World. Since money was not known over here, people had to pay taxes to the Inkan Government as labor or as divers’ goods such as food, clothing, weapons, etc.

Today, when reading books, brochures or some other written material about this site; normally the name “Saqsaywaman Fortress” is found. Chroniclers state that Saqsaywaman was built in order to put it ahead of the city’s Sun Temple, Cieza de Leon indicates that it was a ” Royal House of the Sun”, Garcilaso says that it was a ” …Sun’s House, of war weapons, as well as it was a temple for prayers and sacrifices”. Thus it is evident, that Saqsaywaman had a preponderant religious duty that is why it was very well protected.

The confusion starts in 1536 when Manko Inka gave it a warlike duty in order to fight against the invaders that had occupied the downtown area of the city. In this place Juan Pizarro (Francisco’s brother) received a blow with a stone that sent him to his grave; in the Saqsaywaman siege also appeared a Quechua warrior whose name was Qawide that defended with amazing bravery the Inkan position, exalted even by Spanish chroniclers. Before all that, in 1535, in this same spot, Manko Inka or Manko II was secluded, humbled and ill-treated when claiming to the Spanish conquerors’ restitution of his society.


Originally there were three “walls” or “bulwarks” which foundations are still seen today; they are the most spectacular remains of that fabulous building that according to chroniclers did not have any comparison in the old world. They are three parallel walls built in different levels with limestones of enormous sizes; zigzagging walls that because of their appearance it is suggested that they represent the “teeth” of the puma’s head that the complex represented. The boulders used for the first or lower levels are the biggest; there is one that is 8.5 mts. high (28 ft.) and weighs about 140 metric tons. Those boulders classify the walls as being of cyclopean or megalithic architecture. Some authors believe that the three walls represent the three levels of the Andean Religious World: beginning from the bottom would be the Ukju Pacha (underground stage), the Kay Pacha (earth’s surface stage) in the middle, and the Hanan Pacha (sky stage) on the top.

What is left from the three walls is made with limestones that in this case were used just in order to build the bases or foundations. The main walls were made with andesites that are blackish igneous stones which quarries are in Waqoto on the mountains north of San Jeronimo, or in Rumiqolqa about 35 Kms. (22 miles) from the city. Limestones are found in the surroundings of Saqsaywaman but they are softer and cannot be finely carved as the andesites of the main walls that were of the “Sedimentary or Imperial Inkan” type. Destruction of Saqsaywaman lasted about 400 years; since 1536 when Manko Inka began the war against Spaniards and sheltered himself in this complex.

Later the first conquerors started using its stones to build their houses in the city; subsequently, the city’s Church Council ordered in 1559 to take the andesites for the construction of the cathedral. Even until 1930, Qosqo’s neighbors just paying a small fee could take the number of stones they wanted in order to build their houses in the city: four centuries of destruction using this complex as a quarry by the colonial city’s stone masons.
Garcilaso wrote that on the top of the three “walls” or “bulwarks” there were three strong towers disposed in a triangle. The main tower was in the middle and had a circular shape, it was named as Moyoc Marca(Muyuq Marka), the second one was named as Paucar Marca, and the third Sacllar Marca (Sallaq Marka); the last two ones were rectangular.

Between 1933 and 1934 thanks to an authorization of the Peruvian Parliament in order to commemorate the fourth century of the Spanish refoundation of Qosqo, some works were done emphasizing on cleaning up and putting in service deteriorated monuments. Those works were led by Luis E. Valcarcel, who after having read Garcilaso’s books dug on the top of the three walls, and found the towers’ foundations described by the Cusquenian Chronicler, thus, it was demonstrated the truth of the document about the topic.