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Location: 1 mi (2 km) North-east of Cusco    Map

Open: 7am- 6pm daily

Altitude: 3,701m (12,000 feet)





Description of Sacsayhuaman Fortress

Sacsayhuamán is a massive military fortifications located 1 mi (2 km) North-east of Cusco, capital of Peru. This huge fortress is one of the best examples of Inca military engineering. Designed as the teeth of a jaguar, the fortress protected the body (city of Cuzco mile away) and the tail (temple of Koricancha). The walls of the citadel are build in a zigzag fashion with enormous granite ramparts that measure 585 feet (300 m). Some stones used in construction are measured 17 feet (5 meters) high and weighting almost 250 tons. The legend states that dozens of unfortunate victims still rest under these boulders than they accidentally collapsed. Stone nevertheless are very well fitted without mortar kept in place only by its weight.



The zigzag pattern of Sacsayhuamán is a testament to Inca’s ingenuity. If anyone tried to climb one of the terraces warriors would expose his back to defenders. Besides three towers stood on the top and guarded the citadel. Little survived from these structures, but judging by remains they were huge. Underground passages were dug for quicker mobility and protection for civilians. The whole population of Cuzco could hide here in times of war.


In 1536 Incas defended Cusco in the Sacsayhuamán fortress from the Conquistadors. Thousands of natives were slaughtered here, but their leader Manco Inca escaped to Ollantaytambo probably using underground passages hidden from the Spanish army. In the following years Sacsayhuamán was quarried for valuable stones so it lost parts of its structure to building projects such as churches, houses and other structures of Cuzco.







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