Qenqo Archaeological Complex

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    The Quechua name Qenqo means labyrinth. In the Andean culture worldview, this place was built to invoke Kaypacha, a legendary serpent that gives life.

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    Qenqo Archaeological Site

    Although the true name of this shrine is not known, at the time of the conquest, the Spanish decided to name it Qenqo, a labyrinth in Quechua, perhaps because of the labyrinthine underground galleries, or because of the zigzagging channels carved out of the rock.

    The Spaniards classified this enclosure as an amphitheater, apparently due to the semicircular construction found there. However, the true function of this cyclopean construction is ignored, since it could well be a ceremonial center, a court or a royal tomb, perhaps Pachacútec. According to scholars, it is possible that it was one of the most important sanctuaries of the Inca civilization, the nature of which has not yet been deciphered; in the enclosure the predilection that the Incas had for the stone carved with great care stands out.

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    4 km from the main square of Cusco, over 3,580 meters above sea level. You can get there in 5 minutes on a paved road northeast of the city of Cusco. They are two places: Qenqo Grande located at the foot of the path that goes from Sacsayhuamán to Písac; and Qenqo Chico, which is located on the slope 350 meters west of the previous one. This enclosure is located on the current Socorro hill and has an area that exceeds 3,500 square meters.

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    Qenqo Big

    The amphitheater

    It is a temple used during the incan to celebrate public ceremonies, it is a semicircular enclosure of 55 m. long, with 19 unfinished niches along the wall, some publications affirm that the niches were arranged as seats for the entities they worshiped. However, recent investigations say that it is possible that they were the bases of a great wall.

    Passing the free area you will see a large 6m high stone block, which rests on a rectangular pedestal. Possibly it is a huge zoomorphic sculpture. The imprecision is due to the destruction caused by the idolatry extirpators (personnel who were responsible for eliminating icons of local worship) during the colony.

    It has a rocky bulge with a carved passage, which leads to an underground room, rooms, a set of platforms, and a drainage system designed to evacuate the water from the site.

    The carved stone

    At the back of the stone a small rock formation rises where you can find a staircase, carved out of the living rock, that leads to the summit. It is in this place that a small zigzagging channel rises from a smaller hole and then forks into two branches, one that follows the slope and the other that descends into the underground chamber.

    Perhaps chicha or llama blood was poured into it, offered in rituals not yet clarified. In the summit they are rest of carvings of what could be a condor, whose head was removed; as well as that of a cougar. We can also see the remains of a room.

    Intihuatana and Astronomical Observatory

    Two small cylinders protrude from a polished rock. It is likely that it was an intihuatana, translated - "place where the sun is tied", this allowed to calculate the position of the sun. Its operation remains an enigma to this day. It is supposed to have been a kind of astronomical observatory, which was used to measure time and seasonal changes, determine solstices and equinoxes, and as a place of worship for the main deities, the Sun, the Moon, the earth and the stars.


    Quechua name that means "temple or place that has monkeys". Located 500 meters east of Qenqo Grande. It houses a carved stone of almost 2 m. tall, whose shape resembles that of a toad. On this rock, some engravings of snakes and monkeys are still visible, possibly having to do with the name of the place.

    The underground chamber

    The lithic work done in this place was undoubtedly quite a feat. The floors, walls, tables and niches were carefully carved from the living rock. It was undoubtedly a place where secret ceremonies were held. It has service rooms nearby. It also has a drainage system for rainwater.

    It is located very close to the Intihuatana. The Inca culture scholar Víctor Angles describes it as: “part of a small hole, it moves in an inclined plane and broken line, then it forks, one of the branches led the liquid put to circulate to the Underground Chamber or Hall of the Sacrifices ". The liquid that flowed could have been the blood of sacrifices (animals and / or humans) to the gods.

    The sacrificial hall

    The mystery of the Andean cult ceremonies is one of the attractions of the Inca Culture. The doubts of the so-called "Room of Sacrifices" have not yet been resolved. It is an underground chamber entirely carved out of a gigantic rock. In the lower part of the rocky structure, there are carvings, the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the tables and cupboards.

    It is known that this chamber may have been used to embalm dried apricots, but human and animal sacrifices could also have been carried out on site.

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    Q'enqo Small

    Qenqo small is much more destroyed than Qenqo big. it shows remains of high walls, circular planning and the same care in the carving of the rock.

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    Qenqo Puma

    In the Ruins of Qenqo Peru you can see the sunrise of the puma announcing the starting point of the winter solistice, this is carried out together with the Inti Raymi festival. In Big Qenqo every June 21, when the first rays of the sun show the shadow of a cougar.

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