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Peru: Top 10 must-see archaeological parks in Cusco

12:28 | Cusco (Cusco region), Jun. 6.

Festivities in Cusco are at their peak during the Imperial City's Jubilee month, with hordes of tourists coming to enjoy the parties, dances and archaeological-historical monuments that this region has to offer.

This article includes a list of 10 archaeological parks that testify the greatness of the Incas.

Sacsayhuaman

Located in the Imperial City of Cusco, the Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman is one of the most important historic cultural places in Peru and the Americas.


The 2,997 ha park has been declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

It is home to 96 archaeological sites, including Q'enqo, Tambomachay, Kallachaca, Patallaqta, Amaro–Markahuasi and a monumental area.

The most remarkable construction is the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, whose walls are made of big rocks.

Ollantaytambo

It is located in the district of the same name within Urubamba Province and has an extension of 34,800 hectares.


The archaeological remains of Ollantaytambo present a well-kept architecture. Beautiful terraces or structures like the Temple of the Sun are a proof of this.

The chronicles indicate that Ollantaytambo was built by order of Inca Pachacutec, in order to be a tambo (resting place) and a llaqta (Inca citadel). Therefore, Ollantaytambo served as a military, agricultural, and religious center.

Chinchero

This park is located in Chinchero district of Urubamba Province and has an extension of 43 hectares. 


Chinchero was originally occupied by an ethnic group before the Incas. 

During the Tahuantinsuyo's peak, Inca Tupac Yupanqui planned the construction of the Chinchero palaces, aimed at the Inca elite. 

The magnificent remains of those grandiose palaces can be seen in the center of the town's main square. A colonial church has been erected on what was once the main enclosure. This contrast gives Chinchero a special atmosphere, as if it was suspended in time.

Pikillaqta 

This archaeological park is located near Oropesa and Lucre districts in Quispicanchi Province. 


Pikillaqta is also part of the South Valley of Cusco tourist circuit. The area contains pre-Inca remains of different ethnic groups that occupied the place, but the most outstanding are the Wari culture enclosures. 

Raqchi

Situated in San Pedro district of Canchis Province, Raqchi has an area of 1,097 hectares. 


This large settlement was built in honor of Wiracocha, the supreme deity of the Incas. The Wiracocha Temple stands out among other structures built in the place.

Moray

This archaeological park is located in Maras district of Urubamba Province and has an extension of 37.50 hectares. 


Moray is a large system of several circular terraces that overlap concentrically. It is believed to have served as an agricultural research center. The layout of its platforms generates a variety of microclimates. 

Tipon

Located in Oropesa district of Quispicanchi Province, the Archaeological Park of Tipon has an extension of 239 hectares. 


It is a system of aqueducts, ceremonial fountains, agricultural terraces and enclosures. According to chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, during Inca times, Inca Wiracocha ordered to build a residence for his father Yawar Wakaq, which would serve as a shelter and house after being overthrown by his own son. The remains seen today are believed to be part of such house.

Pisaq

Located in the district of the same name in Calca Province and with an extension of 9,063 hectares, Pisaq is said to be a royal estate and its name refers to partridge, a bird that abounds in this area. 


The main enclosure of the park contains several sectors, including the main neighborhood or Intihuatana, which houses fine masonry temples and palaces, such as the Temple of the Sun. 

Choquequirao

This 1,810 ha park is located on the right bank of Apurimac River, near the Salkantay mountain range, in Santa Teresa district (Convencion Province).


Choquequirao is a large archaeological complex with typical Inca buildings and magnificent terraces. It is known as the 'sacred sister' of Machu Picchu and is still little explored due to the four-day walk required to get there. 

Choquequirao was one of the last bastions of Inca resistance and was abandoned after the fall of the empire.

Machu Picchu

The National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu is located in the province of Urubamba. 


The park houses the Inca city of Machu Picchu, the most important archaeological site of Peru and one of the most outstanding sites around the world. Machu Picchu is one of the wonders of the modern world and a sacred place in the Andean culture. 


(END) MAO/RMB/MVB

Published: 6/6/2019
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