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  CUSCO´S SURROUNDINGS: THE PIKILLACTA RUINS

Pikillaqta is considered to be one of the best-known and well-kept pre-Inca cities in Peru. It is found 30 km. southeast of Cusco, over 3,350 meters high and covers a territory of approximately 50 ha.

Alfonsina Barrionuevo refers to Pikillacta in the following way: "The skirts of the Wayllonqa hill, where Pikillacta is found, an ancient pre-Inca city, shine like the sun. The flowers light up the ruins, which feature empty streets, gigantic plazas, two-story palaces and family housing. Hundreds of lizards scuttle around the ruins". 

The site was named Pikillacta after the arrival of the spaniards. Its name in Inca times is unknown, but it is thought that it could have been Muyuna (going round in circles), Muyna or Mohina. This place is known today as Wakarpay and is part of Pikillacta complex.

Parts that make up The Pikillacta Ruins

The City of Pikillacta

Pikillacta is a sign of great civilization, known for the extraordinary planning capability of its cities. It was built by the Wari culture, whose base was in Ayacucho.

Thanks to its size, Pikillacta is considered one of the main cities in ancient Peru. It is surrounded by aristocratic villas located across the plateau and the Wakarpay lakes.

Garcia Rosell observes two different architectural styles: quarry-stone walls and hewn stone walls probably built by the Wari culture. In 1,927, 40 turquoise idols were found, portraying human dressed in different robes and of incalculable value for the study of ancient Peruvian clothing. The idols measured 25-45 mm long.

Qaranqayniyuj

This is the largest community after Pikillacta, located east of the complex, near the Vilcanota river.

The buildings have semi-circular shapes, and were built in an area of irregular topography. Part of it is in a high plateau and the other in a natural ravine.

Choqepucjio

The ruins of Choquepucjio are one of the most important of the archaeological complex of Pikillacta. It is located on the left bank of the Watanay river.

It had huge walls with two to three-story living quarters and were made of stone mixed with mud, but the upper part was made just of mud-brick.

Urpicancha

This place must have meant something like a "closed place with birds" and was an important place during Inca times since it has platforms of excellent quality. It is located on a small plateau at the foot of the mountain, east of the Lake Wakarpay.

Kunturqaqa

Kunturqaqa is a rocky outcrop that extends over the Watanay river. It is located west of Pikillacta, on the left bank of the Watanay river.

It’s name translates a "Rock of the Condors" because of the shape of the rock, which has the shape of a condor’s head. But many wonder what was the true importance of this place. 

Víctor Angles explains: "the place has a historic content here. Inca Wiracocha had two condors painted, one with a humble attitude with the wings in a trance flying away from Cusco, the other one with a warlike attitude as if moving towards Cusco. The first one symbolizes Yaguar Waqak, who abandoned Cusco and took refuge in Choquepucjio. The second represents Wiracocha, who from Chitapampa went to Mohina and returned to Cusco protect it from the Chancas, and so he did". 

Amarupata Platforms

Amarupata means "serpent’s place", probably because there were a lot of these animals in the area. There is a large group of platforms located 1 km. southeast of Lucre on the outskirts of the Qosqoqhawarina hill. The magnificent canals still work.

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