Pisac Archaeological Site

The archaeological site of Pisac is one of the most important in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is located on the highest hill in the city of Pisac, on a dry and rocky surface, east of the Vilcabamba mountain range.

As was customary in Inca architecture, cities were built on the basis of figurative strokes of animals. Pisac, has the shape of a partridge, so its name.

Archaeological studies have determined that it was not a fortress, but a kind of royal estate, owned by the Inca Pachacutec. The city was composed of platforms, domestic and ceremonial structures, and aqueducts that provided water for agricultural exploitation.

Some of the constructions of the archaeological site of Pisac:

The wall. Formerly it responded to a continuous building, some of its stones have amazing dimensions. It brings together five doors, located in the eastern part of the complex. The only one with lintel is called Amaru Punku, which means Snake Gate.

Tunnels. There are two tunnels located on the hill of Pisac. The first goes north, and is 16 meters long; the second one goes to the top and has 3 meters.

Inca Bridge. In the Pisac complex there was more than one suspension bridge. One was in Paccháyoc, where the bases still remain. And the other, on the western side of the Intihuatana.

Intihuatana. This is one of the most important ceremonial monuments in Pisac. Its location, at the top of the mountain, dominates much of the valley. Its walls are sedimentary (the joint of polished stones has a rectangular outer surface). Its sides are carved in the form of hands that are enclosed in a semicircle, which is why it is considered the Temple of the Sun of Pisac.
In the center of the building is an altar carved in stone, also known as Intihuatana, which must have been used to observe solar movements, and as an altar to celebrate religious ceremonies: the worship of the Sun God or animal sacrifices. Also, to the west of the altar is a carved stone that could serve for astronomical observations, this represented the three Andean phases of the religious world: the sky, the underworld and the subsoil.
The altar is shaped like a letter D, and is perfectly oriented with the sunrise, on the June solstice. Only in Machu Picchu, you can see a similar rock.

Deposits. These are six colcas of the same size, arranged in rows. They are located 200 meters from the Intihuatana, and you have to cross cliffs to get there.
The path that joins these colcas ends in a stairway of 102 steps that ascend parallel to a water channel.

Inca Platforms The main economic activity of the old town of Pisac was agriculture. Therefore, there are 16 agricultural sectors that contain complex and advanced platforms.
Pisac is the site with the greatest stylistic variety of platforms. It has at least 14 different forms of platforms built from 2,995 to 3,450 m.a.s.l.

Inca cemetery. It is located in front of the archaeological complex, only separated by the Quitamayu stream.
It is an impressive place, nestled on a slope of almost one hundred meters high and several kilometers long, belonging to the Linliy mountain. This cemetery is known as Tankanamarka (tankay = to push, marka = place; it can be translated as a launch site), and it must have contained approximately 10,000 graves.
The Incas believed in reincarnation, so they kept their mummies with all their properties and food necessary for their new life. When the Spaniards learned of this custom, they did not hesitate to desecrate the graves and loot the jewels, metals and precious stones. Today you can see small holes, the product of desecration.

The City of Towers. Pisac is also known as the City of Towers, as it has more than twenty towers built on the salient edges of the mountain. They are of perfect finish, very similar to the buildings of Sacsayhuaman. It is not yet known what its exact function was, only that some would have been associated with existing hydraulic works in the place.

The Ñusta Wildebeest. Es un lugar situado en el camino hacia el sur, que conduce al cerro Ñustayoc. Se trata de la estatua de una mujer que lleva sus alforjas en la espalda. La tradición de la ciudad cuenta que la mujer es Inquill, una princesa que no soportó la curiosidad de ver la obra concluída de su prometido.
La leyenda cuenta que el cacique Huayllapuma tenía una hija, llamada Inquill, la que tenía que casar con el hombre que pudiese construir, en solo una noche, el puente sobre el río Vilacmayo (un puente de mucha importancia para la defensa del lugar) . Pese a la dura tarea, Asto Rímac -un apuesto príncipe- decide aceptar el reto, y pedir la mano de la princesa. Las autoridades del lugar dispusieron todo para que Asto Rímac iniciara las labores, mientras que la princesa podría subir un cerro sin voltear, ya que de lo contrario, ella y su prometido se convertirían en piedra. Casi al amanecer, el príncipe había culminado con la obra, pero Inquill, no pudiendo soportar más, volteó y quedó convertido en piedra hasta el día de hoy.

Tiyanacuy. Es un barrio de pequeñas dimensiones, ubicado en la parte baja de la ciudad. Aquí podrá encontrar un asiento perfecto para dos personas, esculpido en una piedra.

Calla Casa. It is a rustic set of irregular buildings located on the top of the mountain. It is difficult to access because you have to order some dangerous ravines.

Pisac. To the southeast is another set of rectangular buildings whose distribution is in the form of an arch. Its walls are considered the most perfect of the Tahuantinsuyo. Near this site, there is a building similar to a viewpoint. From there you can get an excellent view of the valley and the current town of Pisac.
Fountains and waterways were also characteristic of this area. It is said that they had purely religious purposes for the quality of their carving. The main fountain is located 20 meters from the central door of the complex and has two notches as handles, which could be used for ceremonial baths.
In Inca times the Urubamba River was channeled from Pisac to Ollantaytambo for agricultural purposes.

Archaeological sites in Cusco