Pikillaqta

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::: CuscoWeb.com Cusco Info Pikillaqta
It constitutes a National Archaeological Park, including many other surrounding archaeological sites. It covers an area of 3421 hectares (8453 acres), and is located in the Quispicanchis province, toward the east of Qosqo City and about 32 Kms. (20 miles) away by the present-day paved road leading to Puno and Arequipa.
It contains a territory in the districts of Oropeza, Lucre and Andahuaylillas, near the Wakarpay lagoon that is at an altitude of about 3200 mts. (10500 Ft.). In the Peruvian Andes there are about 12000 small lakes like Wakarpay, almost all of them with very rich flora and fauna; they normally have a lot of totora reeds that is the environment for wild ducks of diverse species, geese, flamingoes, etc. and fish among which trout and king-fish stand out.
" Pikillaqta" is a compound Quechua word meaning "lousy town" (piki = louse; llaqta = town); however, that is not the original name of the zone or the main site. Today, its Inkan and previous names are unknown; though, when referring to this zone or the lagoon many chroniclers insinuate the names "Muyuna" (curve or turn), "Muyna" or "Mohina". It seems that the site began being called "Pikillaqta" since the last years of the colonial epoch or by the beginning of the republic; its reason is unknown.
The pre-Hispanic site of Pikillaqta is located over 3350 mts. (11000 Ft.) and belonged to a satellite city of the Wari Culture developed in the present-day Ayacucho department. The Wari Culture is a blend of cultural elements of the Warpa, Nazca and Tiawanako civilizations. It undertook the start of its territorial expansion and then the Wari invasion of the Qosqo valley toward the year 750 AD; being developed approximately until 1200 AD. Everything indicates that by the beginning of the Inkan development the Waris were defeated in this region, conquered and absorbed, and their city was reused for the Tawantinsuyo's interests. Today that pre-Inkan City contains approximately 700 buildings, 200 "kanchas" (apartments) and 504 "qolqas" (storehouses) and different buildings. It must have had a population of about 10 thousand people. The city has a very harmonious and almost perfect geometrical design, divided in blocks with straight streets. Archaeologist Mc. Ewan states that over here existed various complementary sectors: administrative, ceremonial, urban, defensive and a road system. Its buildings had 2 and even 3 stories, with high walls made with mud bonded stones; the walls were wide by the base and narrower by the top. According to studies carried out by the team leaded by Gordon Mc. Ewan by the beginning of the 90s, those walls were originally covered with a coat of mud of 9 cm. and whitened with gypsum; likewise, the floors were made with a thick coat of gypsum, being thus demonstrated that by 750 AD that was a white city. The rooms were narrow, surely adapted to the length of the timber available in the region for division of the stories. The ground surface that is seen today belongs mainly to the beginning of the second stories, the first floors being covered by stones and all the material of the upper floors that fell off as centuries passed. In 1927, Justo Roman Aparicio, practicing archaeological diggings in this spot found 40 turquoise micro-sculptures that are exhibited in the Qosqo's Archaeological Museum. Subsequently Luis A. Pardo found a stone sculpture representing a puma (mountain lion) in natural size. Many scholars suggest that in Inkan times, Pikillaqta was used as a city for "mitimaes", that is, whole nations or tribes displaced from their original lands.
Nowadays, there is no water in the city; the Wakarpay lagoon is about 1 km. (0.62 mile) away from the spot and in a lower level with a difference of about 150 mts. (492 Ft.). However, in ancient times they had a lot of water in the town.
There is a very old tradition that Alfonsina Barrionuevo summarizes telling that once a beautiful princess named Qori T'ika (Golden Flower) lived in this site that had no water and its fields flowered just in the rainy season; once that she got her majority and willing to help her people decided to offer her love to whoever could get water for Pikillaqta.
The offer was responded to by three young princes: Paukar who was Qolla (from the "Qollao" or Altiplano), Tuyasta that was Canchi (from the Canchis province) and Sunqo Rumi who was Quechua. The first one, accustomed to altitudes made the aqueduct over the mountain and could not arrive to the city. The second one, a man of lower regions made the aqueduct surrounding the mountain skirts and could not fulfill the will of the princess either. The Cusquenian, born at middle altitude could perform the great work of hydraulic engineering and gave the precious water for the city, conquering thus the love of Qori T'ika. Even today, it is possible to see by the middle of the opposite mountain (on the other side of the lagoon and to the eastern side of the Lucre town), two horizontal parallel lines that are two of the three aqueducts built by the pretenders. Only the upper one of those two channels arrived as far as Pikillaqta, going over about 10 Kms. (6.2 miles) from its harnessing spot.
The park includes some other interesting groups such as Choquepuqyo, Kañaraqay, Minaspata, Amarupata, Salitriyuq, Tamboraqay, Qaranqayniyuq, Rayallaqta, etc. Toward the lagoon's eastern end, there are many farming terraces in the rocky face of the mountain; and in its lower part are some modern buildings that are used as a lodge for occasional visitors, they were built over the Urpikancha (Dove's Palace) that is supposed to be the Inka Waskar's birth place.
Advancing towards the east of Pikillaqta is a great wall that on its upper side had the aqueduct that furnished water for the pre-Columbian City. Today, in that wall there are also remains of two imposing Inkan gates named Rumiqollqa Gates that in their epoch served for checking the people arriving to Qosqo, besides serving as a customs site. It is known that over here, inhabitants of the vast empire willing to visit the great capital had to drop the offerings prepared during their lifetimes. It is also known that in Inkan times Qosqo City for the Quechuas was something like "Mecca" for Moslems. Thus, every Tawantinsuyo inhabitant had as a supreme dream to visit the "puma city" at least once in his lifetime. Just visiting the city gave people a superior status, and for example, if on a far away road two persons met traveling in opposing ways, the person who had already visited Qosqo was recognized, greeted and respected by the other who had not visited it yet.
Even farther east, on Kilometer 35 (mile 22) of the paved road is the famous Rumiqolqa Quarry (rumi = stone, qolqa = storehouse) that in Inkan times served for extraction of the andesites used for the most important buildings in Qosqo. Today, the quarry is still exploited, therefore, the Inkan works and substructures are completely disturbed.


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