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The Archaeological Site of Raqchi in Cusco

According to recent research, this complex has an extension of one thousand hectares, since in addition to the gigantic wall that protects the park, there are constructions such as aqueducts, underground tombs and pre-Inca enclosures. This complex was built at different times. One of the sectors was built during the domination of the Inca Wiracocha, according to the chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. Later, another stage was built between 1439 and 1471 during the Pachacutec domain and finally, the third stage was built by the Inca Tupac Yupanqui between 1471 and 1493, according to Cieza de León.

History of the archaeological site of Raqchi

The archaeological site of Raqchi has a very old date, even the majority of its constructions are from the Wiracocha period, many archaeologists date this place from the year 200 a.C. approximately, almost 2000 years of occupation, they found many ceramics and other artifacts related to the cultures that settled in this place.

One of the main attractions in the structures that were dedicated to the Inca Wiracocha, and later to the Inca Pachacutec did to reform this place (1431 approx.), To finish the constructions with the Inca Tupac Yupanqui Inca, around 1471-1493.

According to Pedro Cieza de León, the so-called prince of the chroniclers said that there was a legend told among the citizens of Raqchi. The temple made in honor of God Wiracocha after a man appeared who was miraculous, but the people of the town did not pay attention and decided to ignore it, throw stones, and after that a rain of fire occurred, and the people of the town decided leave him alone.

That man went to the sea and disappeared, people never knew who that man was, and in his honor they made a temple and a sculpture; When the Spaniards arrived at this place they thought that this sculpture was a saint that passed through that place.

The place was full of lava, and maybe that explains the rain of fire, because there is a volcano near the site, called Kinsachata.

Through the temple and a wall that surrounds the entire complex, they are:

Temple of Wiracocha

According to the chroniclers, this place of the god Wiracocha was attacked by the Cañas Indians. As punishment, the deity rained fire, “being the stones consumed by fire, according to Pedro Cieza de León.” However, there are discrepancies about who had it built. Cieza says that Pachacuetc had “the big houses” in Cacha built, while Carcilaso says that Wiracocha had him built by the one who told him the god (of the same name).

The largest Inca temple

It is a unique construction between the Inca architecture. It is a large rectangular base barn 92 meters long and 25 meters wide. It has a huge central wall (almost 12 m high). The base of the wall was 3 meters high, made of finely carved stones and finished in adobe. The temple had communication doors with columns that supported a gable roof that was also on 11 cylindrical columns on each side, as well as on the side walls of the building. Only one of the 22 columns is preserved. There are only the bases of the lateral walls after the excavation works of the Spanish mission at the end of the 60s.

The statue

Many centuries after the visit of Cieza to Racchi, at the same time that excavations were made in Cusco, they found a stone head and the representation of a body made of the same material. Manuel Ballesteros and other experts say that these would be the remains of the statue of Wiracocha that was taken to Cusco, destroyed and buried as part of the policy of extirpation of idols. The head is kept in the Museum of America in Madrid and the body is in the Inca Museum in Cusco.

The enclosures

Another important sector for its architectural quality is that of the enclosures or barracks. It covers a total of 22 houses that stand out for their fractured walls with abundant trapezoidal niches and for their distribution. 12 of these houses are lined in pairs along almost 250 meters. This set of buildings is distributed along a series of almost square patios. The one that gives to the esplanade known as Pucllanapampa (in Quechua means place of game) is free, while the other three are distributed in 6 precincts, two on each side.

The Colcas

They are located next to the enclosures and are separated by small fields of rectangular bodies. They are impressive for their number of 120 and 200 according to different researchers and for their distribution in double line that follows the same axis of the temple. They are circular buildings. Some of these colcas have been rebuilt by expeditions of archaeologists who worked in the area, which gives us a better idea of ​​their original appearance. Despite its lack of conservation, it is impressive in itself.

The bath of Inca and Usno

After translating these words it would be: “where the monkey goes up”. It is a succession of seats carved in diorite stone with a deep aesthetic sense on the east side of the slope.

How to get to Raqchi?

Located a few kilometers before arriving at Sicuani, you can take a Private Tour, private transportation or public transport for 1 hour and a half if you go by public transport bus and about 55 minutes if you are traveling privately from the city of Cusco.


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