Red Fortress of Puka Pukara


In Pucapucara there are places, interior squares, bathrooms, aqueducts and an ancient road that is very well known. The buildings are made of stones that have many sizes between medium and small, the surface of the rocks is very rugged, compared to the archaeological rest of others. The urban layout is adequate and functional.

According to the chronicles about historical tradition, in pre-Hispanic times, when the Inca was about to visit the Tambomachay baths, the formidable entourage of soldiers and dancers stayed in Pukapukara, which functioned at the same time as barracks and tambo. There are indications about a 'chincana' or tunnel, which shows that it was an underground communication route between both Inca towns.

Construction workers built three walls that have irregular floors, this construction has three levels for the same place. The first wall has a winding path that carefully avoids cutting outgoing rocks. For the north and behind the outer wall, six rooms of different sizes can be found, they are irregularly constructed so as not to touch the rocks they create on the wall. The second wall surrounds the central elevation. Between this and the first there are platforms that are very wide, which look south and east.

Meaning of the name

The name Puca Pucara means red fortress, and is due to the location of the archaeological group and the existence of some semi-circular enclosure; Red is because of the color of the earth. The name of this place was used from the 20th century.


The archaeological site of Puca Pucara is located at the top of the road that leads to Pisaq, about 7 km. from the imperial city of Cusco and its height reaches 3,580 meters above sea level.

Site Description

The builders of the Inca Civilization built three irregular floor walls, which establish the three levels of the site.

    The first wall

    It has a winding path, which carefully avoids cutting the protruding rocks. From the north end at the back of the outer wall, a total of 6 rooms of different sizes can be found; irregularly arranged in order to avoid touching the stones that make up the wall. On the west you will find a high trapezoidal square that can be entered from an external staircase. In ancient times the square was surrounded by buildings on two sides. The 9 rooms laid out regularly in this place do not seem to have been fortified enclosures in any way.

    The second wall

    It is surrounding the central elevation. These first two walls have wide platforms to the east and south of the site. On the back of the second wall, it is possible to find 3 different rooms of the typical Inca architecture, since 2 of them do not have the common rectangular plan, but trapezoidal.

    The third wall

    It is surrounding the top and there has been no trace of the buildings that could exist in this place. The buildings were built with stones of many sizes between medium and small, the surface of the rocks is very rugged compared to other archaeological remains of the Inca civilization. The urban layout presents an adequate and functional layout.

Function of Puca Pucara

The function of this place is uncertain; the presence of the road can incite to think that it was a tambo. And although it could be, its structure does not correspond to the buildings that were commonly built along the Inca roads. Perhaps it was a settlement for the soldiers who protected the Inca ruler, while he spent a few days off in the Tambomachay baths; or maybe it was a hunting ground of the Incas. The answers to these questions have not yet been resolved.

Opening hours

The archaeological site of Puca Pucara welcomes visitors every day of the week (Monday to Sunday) from 7 am to 6 pm.

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