Posted by: Ali | March 14, 2010

Pisaq, ¡otra vez!

With my family, I went to Pisaq again. You may recall that I went there back in September, the last time I was in Cusco, but I didn’t know much about it.

I know more this time, so I will share this knowledge with you.

Pisaq is, to quote, “the largest fortress-city-temple complex of the Incas, and one of the largest in the Americas.” But what exactly is a fortress-city-temple? No one has any clue what exactly it was for or why it was built.

Slightly rain-damaged walls

It was a very defensible location, except that it was never used as a stronghold against the Spanish. The best stonework and most important section of the ruins were a temple and ceremonial center, which corroborates some accounts that say that Pisaq was the royal estate of one of the Incas, perhaps Pachacutec, but there is also a residential sector, where regular civilians would have lived, and civilians would not have been allowed to live at an Incan royal estate.

Very defensible - you can see for miles!

The best guess that archaeologists have is that it was once a fortress, built to defend all of the surrounding lands, and may have been a pucara – a location where the locals would retreat to for protection if they were under attack. This would make a lot of sense – with all the agricultural terracing and a fresh water source they could have stayed in their fortress for a long time and outlast their attackers.

Mom at the Temple of the Moon

One day, Inca Pachacutec must have come along and decided that it would be a lovely location for a royal estate, and moved in, bringing in his best masons and making it beautiful.


%d bloggers like this: