Pisac o Pisaq

The most important Archaeological Parks in the region. It is located about 30 Kms. (18.6 miles) toward the northwest of Qosqo City. Possibly its name comes from a type of partridge very common in the area known as "p'isaqa"

Andenes Pisac

Some scholars suggest that the pre-Hispanic City had the shape of a "p'isaqa" (-ornate tinamou- Nothoprocta ornata); a tinamidae that represented the local fauna. Today, there is also a colonial town named P'isaq in the lower part of the valley, established as consequence of the famous "Indians Reductions" by which the Quechuas were joined in small towns. The Inkan City is on the upper side of the mountain, over the well preserved terracing. It was classical among the Inkas that the most fertile zones must have been reserved for agriculture without being wasted for building towns or cities. Therefore, the city was built taking advantage of the dry and rocky mountain; even more, its location enabled its protection because this was a fortified city on the way to the Antisuyo (Amazonian Jungle). Historians suggest that it was established over there in order to protect the great capital from possible attacks of the Antis nations (the name of the "Andes" Mountains derives from "Anti") that were their worst and never "submitted to" enemy. Today it is still possible to observe the surrounding wall that protected the most important zone of the city. More over, inside the protected area are the vast farming terraces that supplied enough food for its inhabitants in case of sieges or prolonged wars; and there are also aqueducts that supplied water for agricultural development. It seems that water for consumption of the inhabitants was harnessed on the mountain's upper side and transported through underground channels.

Pisac inca walls

There are two possibilities in order to get to the archaeological site from the colonial town: Hike, taking the street on the western side of the present-day church and go up through the terracing and the mountain, it is a hard hike because of the mountain's altitude and inclination that requires one to be in good physical condition. Otherwise, take a car that must follow the 8 Km. (5 mile) road toward the northeast of the town as far as the parking lot from which it will be necessary to follow the 1.5 Km. (1 mile) path in order to get the "Intiwatana" sector. Nowadays, the second possibility is the easiest and most popular; the most interesting variant is to get by car to the "Qanchisraqay" sector in order to start the hike, for which it is commendable not to suffer from vertigo as the mountain is somewhat steep.


Almost all the original names of the different sectors in P'isaq are lost; the names that are known today were established by tradition, historians and archaeologists. Therefore, in many cases the names do not represent their real nature or duty; the reason for this is that there is no precise information, or old documents serving as authentic testimony for interpretation. But, the "P'isaq" name is genuine because it is consigned in some chronicles. Today, archaeology and history are trying to decode the site's mysteries through archaeological diggings, logical deductions and comparative studies stating analogies with some other known elements. As there is an Inkan architectonic type classification, today, it is possible to establish the roles of almost all the buildings, but, there are many other aspects that will remain as an eternal enigma.

"Qanchisraqay" (qanchis = seven, raqay = inclosure) is one of the districts in P'isaq remaining outside the fortified city, about ½ Km. (0.3 mile) away from the surrounding wall. That sector is also known as "Kanturaqay", the name being related to our national flower "kantu". It is constituted by many buildings with "pirka" type walls, that is, made with non-carved mud bonded stones that originally had a clay stucco. Over here there are some "kanchas" (apartments) for non-noble people that must have cultivated the lower terracing; around here there are also some remains of aqueducts and fountains supplying water for people dwelling in the area. From this spot there is a panoramic view of the terracing that seen from the valley's bottom look narrow but staying up here one discovers that they are broad. Its location on the edge of a precipice is also exceptional for watching over and controlling the movement of people or travelers who used the road toward the Paucartambo region and the Antisuyo.

Following the trail toward the west of Qanchisraqay one reaches the crossroads known as " Antachaka" (anta = cooper, chaka = bridge), where there are some water fountains and a surface aqueduct for the terracing. Towards the west, on the irregular almost vertical surface of the mountain there is a large amount of something like hollows: they are looted tombs of the biggest pre-Hispanic cemetery in the region. Today. the cemetery is known as " Tankanamarka" (tankay = to push, marka = spot; it may be translated as "hurling spot"), and according to some estimates it must have contained about 10,000 tombs that were mostly looted. In the Inkan belief it was stated that once persons died they began a newer life; therefore, their mummies were kept along with all their goods and necessary food. When the conquerors arrived they soon knew that inside the Inkan tombs they could also find jewels of precious stones and metals, thus they began with their diabolical profanation and pillaging of ancient Peruvians' tombs. That is why that cemetery in P'isaq contains mostly looted tombs, some mummies are still inside the graves but not their jewels and daily life elements.


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