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Pikillacta Archaeological Park, a pre-Inca Wari city

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Home » Cusco » Visit Cusco's most incredible archaeological sites » Pikillacta Archaeological Park, a pre-Inca Wari city

The Pikillacta Archaeological Park is extensive, due to the large constructions it presents and for having housed thousands of inhabitants in its precincts.

This wonderful destination is located in the south of Cusco, being a point of attraction of historical value for belonging to the Wari culture, prior to the Inca Empire. Where it highlights the particular form of construction unlike other archaeological sites in the region.

It is a space that has great legacies, that just by setting foot in the place, you will feel that indescribable energy that guides you to discover more of their culture. Undoubtedly it is a place you can not miss, and here we tell you more details of Pikillacta.

Pikillacta, pre-Inca city in the South Valley of Cusco

It is a city that was built during the height of the Wari culture at the end of the sixth century, previously it was believed that the archaeological site was part of the Inca culture for belonging to the region of Cusco, however, the engineering technique was compared that had no such similarity.

Therefore, it was detected that in Pikillacta the construction has elements such as adobe and uncarved stones, which later with the corresponding studies it was identified as belonging to another previous culture, being Wari the origin of the site for handling the same style in the region of Ayacucho.

It is one of the largest archaeological centers of Cusco because it has more than 50 hectares, the same that has 700 buildings, 200 precincts, about 500 food stores and other buildings that make up the entire site that may have had the presence of approximately 10,000 people.

Pikillacta functioned as a ceremonial and administrative center, a place of residence with two to three-story buildings and, due to its strategic location, it was used as a military control center over the Quispicanchis valley.

About the construction of water canals, there is a particular story known as the Legend of Sumaq T'ika and Pikillacta.

This tells the story of the courage of a beautiful young woman, Princess Sumaq T'ika, who saw how her people were dying of hunger and the need for the vital liquid they did not have. That is why she decided to offer her love to whoever managed to build an aqueduct for her people to subsist and she and her people brought water with great difficulty to Pikillacta (at that time it was known as Moyna).

One day Sumaq T'ika talks with his brother about this problem that afflicts his heart and his father listens, and then decides with his son to announce the search for the engagement of his daughter. Several noble princes arrived to ask for the hand of the beautiful woman, then she mentions that she will get engaged with whoever is able to bring water to her town, where many deserted and only two remained with the triumph of Auqui Ttito.

This water channel passes through the Rumiocolca Portal, which is still in use today, whether by legend or other history, it is incredible to know that ancient constructions still maintain their value and importance.

What does Pikillacta (Piquillacta) mean?

Pikillacta is a Quechua word that translates as "town of fleas", because it housed many people in its precincts.

Pikillacta and the Wari culture

In 1950, Rowe argued that "Pikillacta was a site belonging to Wari because of the architectural similarities of the culture in Ayacucho". In this way, more than one researcher supported this theory, but the definitive proof is that archaeological remains belonging to the pre-Inca Wari culture, considered one of the largest in Peru, were found.

Pre-Inca Wari culture, was a civilization of the seventh and thirteenth century A.D. that covered the central Andes of modern Peru, had a wide extension and currently has more than 50 archaeological sites. It was composed by a good base in social, economic, political and religious structure that served for the settlers and future generations.

In 2019, the Ministry of Culture of Cusco found:

  • 6 small idols,
  • 24 silver laminated pieces, representing women warriors.
  • 3 anthropomorphic pieces in complete.
  • 107 pieces representing parts of the human body.
  • Ceremonial offering, among others.

Take a Tour of the South Valley of Cusco with Terandes.com

Tierras de los Andes, organizes your trip in the best way for you to live a unique experience, so it shows you the tours available to visit Pikillacta and other attractions in the city of Cusco.

  • Cusco Archaeological Capital of America Tour: is a nine-day trip, where you arrive in Lima to continue your visit to Cusco City Tour, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Pincchu, South Valley (Tipon, Pikillacta and Andahuaylillas), 7 Colors Mountain, Maras, Moray and the Humantay Lagoon.

Where is the Pikillacta Archaeological Park located?

The Pikillacta Archaeological Park is located on the northeast side of Lucre, in the province of Quispicanchi, at the southern end of the Cusco valley.

Getting to PiKillacta from Cusco's Main Square?

If you are in the Plaza de Armas of the city of Cusco, you should consider that Pikillacta is about 50 km away and more than an hour's drive.

To get to the destination, you can go on your own by taking a public transportation vehicle to the Urcos bus stop, get on it and tell the driver that you will get off at the bus stop that leaves you near Pikillacta. However, it is advisable to travel with a tourist agency such as Tierras de los Andes, which is in charge of transportation with the complete package to have the best tourist expedition.

What to see and do in Pikillacta?

Arriving at the site you can appreciate an Andean landscape where you can visit the museum and the sectors that make up this archaeological site.

Visit the Sito Pikillacta Museum:

In this museum are the archaeological remains found during the investigations of Pikillacta, which exhibits ceramic works, maps and photographs that explain the structure and functioning of the destination.

In this part stands out the exhibition of the carapace of the Glyptodon, an animal that lived in Cusco about 300 million years ago, which has a measure of 2.35 from head to tail, with a 1 meter wide and 1.10 meters high.

Glyptodon in the Sito Pikillacta Museum
Glyptodon in the Sito Pikillacta Museum

Visit the Pikillacta Sectors:

  • City of Pikillacta: it is formed by extensive constructions that housed a large number of settlers. According to the Peruvian archaeologist Garcia Rossell, this site presents two styles of architecture that stands out with canteada stone walls and perfect walls with similarity, where there is the possibility of Inca construction on the Wari.
  • Qaranqayniyuj: it is located to the east of the archaeological center, known as the largest population after Pikillacta. It presents buildings, that in some cases contain semicircular form, built in an irregular area, where a part is located in a natural hollow and the other in a superior plain to the previous one.
  • Urpicancha: this word translates as "Patio de pajaritos", being a space that stands out for its construction of stone platforms armed with great care, without the use of montero.
  • Choquepucjio: it is located near the archaeological site, on the left side of the Huantanay River. They are constructions of buildings with similar characteristics of 2 to 3 floors, where the first plates are made of stone and mud.
  • Amarupata: its name comes from the Quechua language and translates as "Site of the snakes" because these animals could be found in the place. It is an area of a large set of terraces with water channels that are still in operation.
  • Kunturqaqa: this site is a rocky elevation that overhangs the Huatanay River, west of the city of Cusco. Its name translates as "Rock of the condors" because it has the shape of the head of this animal.
View of Muros En Pikillacta
View of the Walls in Pikillacta

Hours and entrance fee to Piquillacta

To visit the destination, it is important to take into account that the entrance hours are from Monday to Sunday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The entrance fee is included in the General Tourist Ticket, with the price of s / 130.00 for adults and s / 70.00 for children and students. This includes three tourist circuits such as Sacsayhuaman, the city with South Valley and Sacred Valley of the Incas.

You also have the option of buying a Partial Tourist Ticket with s/ 70.00 to visit the site of Pikillacta that is within the second circuit that serves to know the city along with the South Valley.

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