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The fantastic Machu Picchu citadel on the mountains certainly stands out as a wonder of Inca architecture (indeed, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World!) and it is one of the top destinations for people all around the planet. But there is more! Inca rulers were great builders, they had everything planned with much efficacy: politics, economy, architecture, religion, farming and so on.

In this post we will show some marvels of Inca architecture in addition to Machu Picchu; for example, the mighty Ollantaytambo site, a favorite for eccentric spiritual seekers, who even maintain that it was built using alien technology! Besides being a safe place for tourism, the Cusco region is absolutely worth the investment in time and money!

The Machu Picchu Citadel

This is a major sample of Inca architecture and also a place full of history. The construction began in 1450 approximately, asked by the first Inca emperor, Pachacutec. Machu Picchu was meant to be a luxury leisure retreat for Inca royalty and also a place for religious ceremonies (Ayahuasca, San Pedro and others). The material is granite, which was brought from close spots, where rocks were easy to chop due to ancient geological cracks. The granite was carefully polished. Inca builders, following the worldview of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and respect for nature, adapted the Machu Picchu citadel to the shape of the mountains. They were also self-sufficient: the site includes a great number of mountainside terraces, where they grew typical vegetables like potatoes, corn, coca leaves and more; in case of extra need, food was brought from the newly-conquered villages in the valley below, as a form of tribute in exchange for military protection. Machu Picchu is indeed a formidable destination: full of history, landscape beauty, great architecture, natural energy flow and more.

The Sacsayhuaman Fortress

Just outside north of Cusco City, stand the mighty Sacsayhuaman remains. Although the Spanish invaders thought of it as a fortress, it was originally built as a complex to worship the Sun God (Inti), in the 15th century. Again, the stones are granitic, brought from quarries by Inca workers. Some of them weigh up to 120 tons, so of course there were also other means of translation, using ropes and wood sliders. It is a quite impressive, massive sample of Inca architecture! Also, it is located at a very beautiful spot, with large fields of green, woods, quietude and great views of some snowies. It’s a very mystical place, same as Machu Picchu, where many people practice sacred rituals and meditate for hours. From above, it has the shape of a lightning; it was usual in Inca architecture to build with natural designs.

Saqsayhuaman - Cusco Top Destination on Tripadvisor

The Coricancha Temple

Located in downtown Cusco City, is another wonder of Inca architecture! You can think of it as their Vatican, for it was the main religious temple of the empire and where the High Priest and all hierarchy lived. Coricancha means Golden Temple, and the main divinity was Inti, the Sun God. It is said that most of the large walls had solid golden covers, and also the statues of the gods revered were made of silver and gold. It is a masterpiece of imperial Inca architecture, contemporary to Machu Picchu, also using finely polished granite, which didn’t require mortar to perfectly fit, to build many rooms for all purposes demanded. After the Spanish invasion, they built a Catholic church on top of the Coricancha, the Santo Domingo church and monastery, but the interior architecture of the Coricancha is mostly preserved. It’s a really amazing tour!

Qoricancha - Cusco Top Destination on Tripadvisor

Ollantaytambo Village

Located in Cusco’s Sacred Valley, this is another feat of Inca architecture. The small town itself has the highly organized design typical of them, something like Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, where everything is also planned for a specific purpose. It is said that Ollantaytambo village is the place that most preserves original Inca urban design, this is why it is called “living Inca town”. Now the archaeological remains are really a must! It’s an amazing, mandatory stop if you’re coming to Cusco. Multiple terraces for farming on the mountainsides, immense barns where they stored grains and vegetables (refrigerated by the cool Andean winds), watchtowers from where soldiers could spot invader armies attracted by their wealth and the spectacular Temple of the Sun, with massive walls, which some spiritual seekers say were cut and lifted using alien antigravitational lasers! All of it like embedded in the mountain range, just like Machu Picchu! The Incas were undoubtedly mountain people.

Qoricancha - Cusco Top Destination on Tripadvisor

Wiñaywayna site

The feeling I get when arriving at this Inca spot, is I’m exploring another planet and have reached one of its structures… it is a marvel of Inca architecture. Always following their playbook of embedding constructions in nature, like in Machu Picchu, it comprises a vast series of terraces for farming, big barns and administration areas, where their officials planned the cultivation, harvest and distribution of food. It also was a religious place for worship of their nature divinities, in particular the water goddess (Mama Cocha). This site isn’t open for regular visitors, they have to do the Classic 4-Day Inca Trail (Winaywayna is up on the Andean range, you’ve got to hike to get there). It is very close to the Machu Picchu site, actually being the last campsite of the Classic Inca Trail.

Qoricancha - Cusco Top Destination on Tripadvisor

These are only a few gems of Inca architecture! All around the Cusco region there are many more sites where TOUR IN PERU can take you to! Feel free to explore our website for information about Raqchi, Maras-Moray, Pisac and more. 

Machu Picchu and the sites we wrote about here are great examples of imperial Inca architecture, all of them commended by the first Inca emperor, Pachacutec. There are many more, even in downtown Cusco City, which was the center of an empire that reached Colombia and Argentina. Talk to our travel specialists and have a dream vacation in Cusco, the land of great builders!

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