Tracing Incas near Ayacucho

We found this place by chance. In the tourist information there was a photo of a temple, perfect stone work, so different from the other ruins we’ve seen around Ayacucho. I got excited immediately: “Where is it?? How do we get there???” .  “It’s an Inca temple in the village called Vilcashuaman, but it is far away from here, four hours on a bumpy road..” – the lady did not sound very enthusiastic..

Next day early morning we were already sitting in the bus on our way to Vilcas, how the locals call it shortly.

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The way was indeed long, almost four hours over the sand roads up in the mountains. But it was also amazingly beautiful. The rain season has already started, so the slopes of the mountains were green and the rivers and stream where running down the valleys. Now and then there was a tiny village, no more than several simple clay houses.

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Vilcashuaman, the Sacred Hawk, would be just another boring village if not for the fact that it was built on an ancient Inca site. According to chronicles it used to be an Inca administration site, inhabited by some 40000 people, certainly more than live there now. After the place was conquered by the Spanish, the conquistadors built a catholic church directly on top of the temple. Just a step away are the moon temple and the Inca palace. Behind grow contemporary houses. Children play on the sacred walls as if there was nothing special about them. The temples became a part of the village.

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It was the first Inca site I saw in Peru and I was completely taken by it. The astonishing stonework, hard rock parts fitting each other like puzzle pieces. Absolutely perfect. Flawless. How did they managed to do it, five centuries ago? Which technique did they use? We simply don’t now. Scientists until now come up with contradicting theories. What a shame that this impressive knowledge has been lost..

P1360033It was a lovely peaceful day – just me and the Inca ruins. Later in Cusco, where every single Inca stone is commercialized and for sale, I realized it was a perfect way for me to make the first acquaintance with this ancient nation.

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