Sacsayhuaman, sometimes spelled as "Saqsaywaman" or "Saksaywaman," is a massive Inca fortress located on a hill overlooking the city of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. The site, which covers an area of approximately 33 hectares (82 acres), is an architectural marvel and an important example of the advanced engineering skills of the Incas.


Constructed in the 15th century during the reign of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui and his successors, Sacsayhuaman was built using enormous stones, some weighing over 100 tons, which were precisely cut and fitted together without the use of mortar. The walls of the fortress form a zigzag pattern, which is believed to represent the teeth of a puma – a sacred animal in Inca mythology. The site's primary function was military, serving as a stronghold and defense for Cusco, but it also held religious significance.

There are several notable features within the Sacsayhuaman complex:

The Great Plaza: A large, open area that could have been used for gatherings, ceremonies, or military parades.
The Three-tiered Walls: The three parallel walls consist of massive stones and are a prime example of Inca masonry and engineering.
Muyuqmarka: A circular structure thought to be a temple or a water reservoir, composed of concentric terraces.
The Rodadero: A natural rock formation with smooth, polished surfaces, which is believed to have been used as a slide for ceremonial or recreational purposes.
Sacsayhuaman played a crucial role in the defense of Cusco during the Spanish conquest, particularly during the battle between the Spanish forces led by Francisco Pizarro and the Inca forces led by Manco Inca in 1536. Despite the fortress's strategic advantages, the Inca resistance was eventually defeated.

Today, Sacsayhuaman is a popular tourist destination and an important archaeological site that provides valuable insights into the Inca civilization's architectural prowess and military strategy. Each year on June 24th, the fortress serves as the backdrop for the Inti Raymi festival, a reenactment of the traditional Inca sun festival, which draws thousands of visitors to the site.