5 Awesome Inca Sites that Aren’t Machu Picchu

Everybody knows that Machu Picchu is THE place to visit in Peru. However, there are many other fascinating Inca sites that are worth a visit, and most are within easy reach of Cusco. If you are backpacking on a budget and can’t afford to visit Machu Picchu, or simply want to explore more, the Sacred Valley is filled with Inca ruins to discover.

On the hill above Cusco lies Sacsayhuaman or Saksaywaman, one of the easiest Inca sites to visit from Cusco. The name means ‘satisfied falcon’ in Quechua, the language of the Incas. Located on the mountain overlooking Cusco, Sacsayhuaman was the capital of the Inca empire.

The city was designed in the shape of a jaguar, with Sacsayhuaman as the head. Built like a fortress, but more probably used for religious purposes, Sacsayhuaman was constructed using huge stones that fit together so well that not even a pin could fit between them. Some of the stones are massive, weighing in at nearly 300 tons, so it is hard to imagine how the Inca could build it with such precision and expertise, and without the use of mortar.

Now all that remains are the stones which are too big to move; the Spanish destroyed the rest and built colonial Cusco using the remnants of the ruins. If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk up to the ruins from Cusco, or hop in a taxi if you’re struggling with the altitude.

Every year, Peruvians and tourists from all over the world come to Sacsayhuaman to celebrate Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun which marks the summer solstice on 24th June.

Here are a few of the best Inca sites to visit that aren’t Machu Picchu…

 

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