No one in Peru knows the true Spelling of Saksaywaman, a historical monument in Peru that’s basically a lot of rocks (with a lot of conspiracy theorist fans – more on that in a bit).
“Saksaywaman” is perhaps the most commonly accepted spelling, but other totally acceptable options include:
According to Wikipedia (a very trustworthy source, we’re told), Saksaq Waman translates in the Quechua language to: waman – falcon, or variable hawk. Ancient History claims it’s “Royal Eagle”. If you take anything away from this, it should be that nobody can agree on anything when it comes to Saksaywaman.
This is a variable hawk, btw.
As if that weren’t enough, other alternative Hispanicized spellings for Saksaywaman include:
Ok, but what about the Sexy Woman, er, Saksaywaman?
Well, I’m sorry to disappoint. The story behind this ancient monument isn’t an illicit one. But it’s still pretty f*ckin’ weird.
We’re talking about aliens.
Maybe. The point is that there are a couple of completely unexplainable aspects to the construction of Saksaywaman Peru that has everyone trying to guess how they did what they did, especially back in ancient times. Even with the technology available today, no one has been able to replicate the ancient builders’ techniques.
This is Saksaywaman Peru.
As you can tell through simple attention to detail, it’s a bunch of rocks.
This Cusco monument was actually started by the Killke culture, but it’s the Incans who tend to get all the credit. Initially, the monument had been constructed of mud and clay. Later years and rulers replaced this with many large stones that could be up to 4 meters in height, with some weighing in at over 100 tons. These big stone walls were put together by the Incans, but this whole thing is crazy, because:
- The altitude for this monument is at 12,000+ feet. Imagine moving megalithic rocks in any situation, but especially at high altitude. You could argue that they were used to it, but that doesn’t give them enough credit for how hard this was.
- The builders created such a tight fit between each stone that archaeologists today still can’t figure out how they were able to do this. A piece of paper couldn’t fit between two pieces.
- The stones used in the construction of Saksaywaman are some of the largest used in pre-historic America.
- Some stones might take 100 or 1000 men to move, for even a short distance. But most of the stones were moved from a very large distance away. In fact, one of the stone quarries that supplied this effort was over 20 kilometers (a little over 12 miles) away. Let that sink in for a second.
- Over 500 years in earthquake-prone Cusco, Peru has done little to disrupt this structure that stays together simply because of incredibly fine tooling of each stone to fit with another (although other Incan monuments have similarly held up to these extreme conditions, spread out over 100s of years).
Many people have their own Saksaywaman conspiracy theories, but the answer is probably a lot simpler than most people think. At any rate, it’s kind of late to ask the Incans now, so all we can do is speculate.
Traveling to Saksaywaman
If you’re traveling to Cuzco Peru, Saksaywaman is a sight and marvel not to be missed. You could go with a tour group or take a taxi, but if you can still breathe at the altitude, it’s totally hikeable from the city center. The climb up to Saksaywaman (and then to the ruins from there) is definitely a good way to earn some Fitbit steps, and your cuy (guinea pig) later in the day.
If you didn’t already know, cuy is a delicacy in Peru.
Also, while you’re at Saksaywaman, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to shop for some genuine alpaca products. Check out this spot nearby (Alpaca Wasi), but be prepared to drop some Benjamins if you buy more than one thing, as it’s quite expensive compared to the other Peruvian souvenir options you’ll typically find.
How much are Saksaywaman tickets?
As far as Peruvian attractions go, some of the official historic sites are more expensive than you’d think. A ticket into the monument will cost you 70 soles (at least as of this writing), which is a little over US$20. If you make a day of it, it will then grant you free admission to 16 other museums and Peruvian monuments. Occasionally, tourists report 2-for-1 deals, and if you come in before 7am, you won’t have to pay a dime for access (but you also have to get up before 7am on vacation).
Obviously, the Incans were a pretty badass culture. But for all their triumphs that put them well ahead of their time, the Incans were incredibly short-lived as far as civilizations go. In fact, they couldn’t even make it to 100 years.
Peru is rich with culture and history. And funny names, like Lake Titicaca.
You know you’d rock it.
If you’ve been to Saksaywaman Peru, we’d love to hear your conspiracy theories. Did aliens them? Did they succeed with an ancient version of steroids? Tweet your thoughts at @tanksgetaround, and we’ll share the weirdest ideas you have.
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