Pikillaqta - Everything you need to know!

Pikillaqta is a pre-Columbian archaeological site located in the Cusco Region of Peru. The Wari culture occupied the site from the 13th century and later was incorporated into the Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in the 16th century. Pikillaqta is one of the largest and best-preserved archaeological sites in South America; it covers an area of approximately 2 square kilometers and consists of more than 3,000 buildings, including Kanchas (large rectangular houses), qolcas (storehouses), ushnus (temples), and tumis (tombs). The site was abandoned by the Incas before the Spanish conquest and was rediscovered by archaeologists in the early 20th century.

Pikillaqta is open to the public and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors to Pikillaqta can explore the ruins, visit the on-site museum, or participate in one of the many guided tours.

Location

Pikillaqta is located in the Cusco Region of Peru. It is situated at an altitude of 3,650 meters (11,980 ft) above sea level on a mountain ridge above the valley of the River Vilcanota. Wari and the Incas occupied the site from the 13th century until their defeat by the Spanish in 1572. Pikillaqta covers an area of approximately 2 square kilometers (0.77 sq mi). It consists of a series of stone buildings, terraces, and walls, many of which are still standing.

History

Pikillaqta was once the largest city in the Cusco region. The town was built by the Wari culture, one of the most powerful empires in the Andes during the Middle Horizon period (600-1000 AD). The Wari were known for their engineering prowess, and Pikillaqta is a testimony to their skill. The city was built on a natural terrace overlooking the Vilcanota River. It covers an area of ​​ more than 2 square kilometers and has over 200 buildings, including pyramids, temples, palaces, and storage facilities.

How to get to Pikillacta ruins from Cusco?

The best time to visit Pikillaqta is early morning before it gets too hot. Entrance tickets cost 10 PEN (about USD 3) per person, and plenty of guides are available if you want someone to show you around.

What to visit in Pikillaqta?

Pikillaqta covers an area of approximately 2 km2 (0.77 mi2), including over 500 buildings across several sectors. The primary industry of the site consists of the remains of two large plazas, which were likely used for ceremonial and administrative purposes. Other notable features of Pikillaqta include a large number of storage pits, underground passages, and defensive walls.

The ruins of Pikillaqta offer a glimpse into the everyday life of the Wari people who once inhabited this site. Visitors can see the remains of houses, storage pits, and other structures that would have been used in daily life. In addition, the ruins provide insights into Wari beliefs and practices, as evidenced by the many temples and shrines scattered throughout the site.

Tips for visiting Pikillaqta

When visiting the Pikillaqta ruins, there are a few things to remember.

First, wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.

Second, bring a hat and sunscreen as it can get quite hot during the day.

Third, be sure to bring enough water with you as no potable water is available at the site.

Lastly, if you visit during the rainy season (November-March), bring a raincoat or poncho as it can rain unexpectedly.

Conclusion

The Pikillaqta ruins are a must-see for anyone visiting Cusco. The ruins are a great way to learn about the Inca civilization and glimpse the past with their well-preserved architecture and stunning views. If you're short on time, at least visit the central plaza and see the Temple of the Sun. You won't be disappointed!