Used as a fortress by the Incas, Waqrapukara is an impressive archaeological site off-the-beaten-track in Cusco, and a must visit for adventurers.
Located in the district of Acos in the department of Cusco, Waqrapukara (also spelled Waqra Pukara) is carved into and built upon the slopes of a hillside with an overlooking view of the grand Apurimac River. Only in 2017 was it declared a Cultural Heritage Site by Peru’s Ministry of Culture.
Waqra means “horn” in Quechua, while Pukara means “fortress.”
The structure of Waqrapukara
Waqrapukara features two groups of buildings; the first is located in the upper part of a mass of rocks jutting out from the hill while the other is made up of 2 enclosures on the west side of the hill. The latter of these is thought to have been for ceremonial use only.
The foundations of the site are actually pre-Inca, dating back to the Q’anchi culture. The Inca constructions came later under the reign of Huayna Capac.
Conservation of Waqrapukara is an immediate and long term priority for the municipal governments now that it has been given proper recognition as a Cultural Heritage Site.
How to get to Waqrapukara
Tours will start in Cusco city (very early in the morning) and will drive groups southeast for about 3-3.5 hours. You will arrive at either the town of Santa Lucia, or the small community of Huayqui. It’s either a 3 hours or 2 hour hike, respectively, from these starting points to Waqrapukara. The tour will let you explore the fortress for the afternoon and take you back to Cusco around sunset.
Contact [email protected] to find out how to book a trip to Waqrapukara.
Cover photo: ElComercio.pe
This article has been updated from its original publication on July 21, 2017.
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