The Quechua name Qenqo means labyrinth. In the cosmovision of the Andean culture, this place was built to invoke Kaypacha, the legendary snake that gives birth to life. The Incas used this place as a bridge to communicate with other of their gods such as the Sun, the earth, the mountains, the moon and the stars. Everything in this place has a special mystique, the amphitheater, the labyrinths, the canals and the sacrificial room.
Qenqo Archaeological Complex
Although the true name of this shrine is not known, at the time of the conquest, the Spaniards decided to name it Qenqo, a labyrinth in Quechua, perhaps through the labyrinthine underground galleries, or through the zigzagging canals carved into the rock.
The Spaniards cataloged this enclosure like an amphitheater, apparently by the semicircular construction that is there. However, the true function of this cyclopean construction is ignored, since it could well be a ceremonial center, a court or a royal tomb, perhaps Pachacútec. According to scholars, it is possible that it was one of the most important shrines of the Inca civilization, whose nature has not yet been deciphered; In the precinct, the Inca’s predilection for the stone carved with great care stands out.
4 km from the main square of Cusco, about 3,580 m.s. You can arrive in 5 minutes on a paved road northeast of the city of Cusco. There are two places: Qenqo Grande located at the foot of the path that goes from Sacsayhuamán to Pisac; and Qenqo Chico, which is located on the slope 350 meters west of the previous one. This enclosure is on the current Socorro hill and has an area that exceeds 3,500 square meters.
It is a temple used during the Incas to celebrate public ceremonies, it is a semicircular enclosure of 55 m. in length, with 19 unfinished niches along the wall, some publications claim that the niches were arranged as seats for the entities they worshiped. However, recent research says that it is possible that they were the bases of a great wall.
Passing the free area you will see a large stone block 6 m high, which rests on a rectangular pedestal. Possibly it is a huge zoomorphic sculpture. The inaccuracy is due to the destruction caused by the extirpators of idolatries (personal who were responsible for removing icons of local worship) during the colony.
It has a rocky bulge with a carved passage, which leads to an underground room, rooms, a set of platforms, and a drainage system designed to evacuate the water from the place.
The carved stone
In the back part of the stone there is a small rock formation in which you can find a stairway, carved in the living rock, that leads to the summit. It is this place from a smaller hole a small zigzag canal is born that descends and then branches off into two branches, one that follows the slope and another that descends to the underground chamber.
Perhaps in it chicha or blood of llamas was poured, offered in rituals not yet clarified. On the summit remain carved remains of what could have been a condor, whose head was removed; as well as that of a cougar. You can also see the remains of a room.
Intihuatana and Astronomical Observatory
Two small cylinders protrude above a polished rock. It is probable that it was an intihuatana, translated – “place where the sun is tied”, this allowed to calculate the position of the sun. Its operation remains an enigma to the present. It is supposed to be a kind of astronomical observatory, which was used to measure time and changes of season, determine solstices and equinoxes, and as a place of worship to the main deities, the Sun, the Moon, the earth and the stars
Quechua name meaning “temple or place that has monkeys.” Located 500 meters east of Qenqo Grande. It houses a carved stone of almost 2 m. of height, whose shape resembles that of a toad. On this rock, some engravings of snakes and monkeys are still visible, possibly having to do with the name of the place.
The underground chamber
The lithic work done in this place was without a doubt a great feat. The floors, walls, tables and niches were carved with great care in the living rock. Without a doubt, it was a place where secret ceremonies were held. It has service rooms in the immediate vicinity. It also has a drainage system for rainwater.
It is located very close to the Intihuatana. The scholar of the Inca culture Víctor Angles describes it as: “part of a small hole, moves in inclined plane and broken line, then bifurcates, one of the branches led the liquid put to circulate to the Underground Chamber or Room of the Sacrifices. “The liquid that flowed, could be the blood of sacrifices (animals and / or humans) to the gods.
The sacrificial room
The mystery that the ceremonies of the Andean cult keep, is one of the attractions of the Inca Culture. The doubts of the so-called “Room of Sacrifices” have not yet been resolved. It is an underground chamber carved entirely in a gigantic rock. In the lower part of the rocky structure, the soil, the walls, the roof, the tables and cupboards are carved.
It is known that this chamber could have been used to embalm dried apricots, but human and animal sacrifices could also be carried out in the place.
Qenqo Chico, this place is much more destroyed than Qenqo Grande; It shows remains of high walls, circular planning and the same care in the carving of the rock.