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
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
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.
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.