Most travelers visit Cusco, from where visitors can explore Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley, but Sacsayhuaman is also a must-see site for those who are interested in exploring ruins and the history of the Incas in more detail. Sacsayhuaman, meaning Royal Eagle is a magnificent fortress constructed during the Pachacuti reign. Historians say that it took over seven decades to construct and that 20,000 men were needed to complete the work. Truly samazing statistics.
Sacsayhuaman was the largest structure built by the Incas, and the fortress remains are a testament to their knowledge of construction and masonry. Many of the polygonal blocks are over 4 meters in height and weigh up to 100,000 kg. The stone structure was a huge accomplishment as evidence suggests that the blocks were pounded into shape rather than cut, and mortar was not necessary due to the precise nature of the setting of the stones. At its peak, the construction reached an impressive height of 18 meters and stood 540 meters in length.
The stone fortress included temples, aqueducts, terraces, patios and towers and was a location for important Inca ceremonies. It was also used as a storage depot for food, armor, textiles, ceramics and precious metals.
Sacsayhuaman lies on the outskirts of Cusco and remains to this day, an important part of the Inca culture. Each year you can watch the annual reenactment of the Inti Raymi Inca festival held on the winter solstice.
Sacsayhuaman can be visited independently or as a tour with other fascinating Inca sites such as Puca Pucara, Qenko and Tambo Machay. Either way, Sacsayhuaman is an impressive insight into the Inca culture and well worth a visit.