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Last week I wrote briefly about Sexywoman in Peru. Her real name is Sacsayhuaman and she is a citadel located on the outskirts of Cusco. Some say that the city of Cusco was built like a puma, one of the three animals that symbolised the Incan society ( the other two being the condor and snake), and that Sacsayhuaman is the Puma’s head, located on the stop of the hill overlooking and guarding Cusco city.
The most remarkable thing about Sacsayhuaman are the three massive terraces walls, and these zig zag shape that looks like puma teeth. These walls are about 5m high and are built of massive stones that are believed to have come from as far as 35km away.
Bearing in mind this was built back in 15th century, it’s a mystery how the Incas manage to transport these massive stones to this site. These stones aren’t all flat either, some of them are concave like this inner corner of the wall, and others are convex creating the zig zag shape.
And more importantly how did the Incas manage to cut the stones so they all fit together perfectly and you can’t even slip a piece of paper in between? Some of these stones have multiple corners, such as this one where I count 10. All the surrounding stones and their neighbours fit together like a puzzle which is just mind boggling on how they did this. The Incas didn’t do all this to show off their stone masonry skills (or maybe they did as they predicted we’d still be admiring this 500 year later), but it is generally thought that they cut and built the stone walls like this to make it earthquake proof as Peru is located in a seismic zone. Time has proven that they succeeded.
If you read my last post, you may remember I mentioned the people I encountered. First of all is this group of locals who like me were visiting Sacsayhuaman. Their traditional outfit were so beautiful especially the little girls with their colourful headwear. I thought they blended in perfectly with this ancient Incan ruins and if you use a bit of imagination you could almost transport yourself back to the 15th century. I couldn’t resist this photo opportunity and started taking a few photos from quite far away. They didn’t mind so I moved a bit closer and they continued to pose happily for me. Just look at that beautiful pair of eyes from the adorable little girl standing in the middle. After a few photos, it was time for them to move on, and one of the woman put her hand out towards me as a gesture to ask for money!!! If I was at a tourist location and I knew they were ‘working’, posing for tourists I’d be fine with that. But they were tourists themselves here so I was a bit taken back and didn’t know how to react. They moved away before I decided what to do.
My other encounter with the locals was even more bizarre. As I was wandering around, a teenage girl came and asked if she could take a photo with me. That’s never happened to me before, so I was happy to oblige as she was really sweet. A few moments later, another few came up to me with the same request, then another and another. It was kinda weird I thought, but in a nice weird way, not weird weird. It’s not like Peruvians have never seen Asians before as there are many Japanese in Peru, or maybe the girls were doing some sort of take photos with strangers challenge. Or maybe I look like a local celebrity …. I’ll go with that.
Getting to Sacsayhuaman from Cusco is pretty easy, you can either go by taxi or bus as its only about 4km away. It’s so close that you can in fact walk there. Since Sacsayhuaman is located up on a hill, the walk is not an easy one, so of course the lazybone in me wouldn’t do this. But to give myself credit, I did walk back afterwards. I followed this really useful sign post downhill.till I left the ruins grounds and started to descend down these stairs back to my hostel in Cusco.
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