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Huchuy Qosqo

The settlement at the archaeological ruin  Huchuy Qusqo dates back  between 1000 and 1400 CE. In the early 1400s, according to the Spanish chronicler Pedro de Cieza de Leon, it became a royal estate of the semi-mythical Viracocha, (c. 1410-1438), the eighth Inca ruler. The Inca Empire contolled land and labour instead of charging taxes. For this reason Inca leaders acquired large royal estates to increase their power and wealth and that of their descendants who inherited the estates. Royal estates served also as elegant country palaces and, at times, fortresses to fend off rivals for power. Thus, the name Huchuy Qosqo, “Little Cusco”, for a royal estate or government center modeled in the Inca capital.

To build, operate, and maintain his estate, Viracocha and his descendants required large numbers of workers. Citizens of the Inca empire were obligated, under the mit’a system, to contribute labor to the Empire, rather than being taxed on their wealth or production. The impressed mit’a labor was most probably found among nearby ethnic groups, although specialists and craftsmen might be imported.

Another Inca policy of mit’a, was probably used to collect labor for the royal estate. Mitmaqkuna were families or whole ethnic groups who were relocated to new lands in the empire or settled in enclaves among the earlier inhabitants of an area. The purpose was to distribute different ethnic groups widely,  separating potential troublemakers and reducing the possibility of organized resistance to the Incas.

The mitmaqkuna were discouraged from mixing with local ethnic groups. A third source of labor for the estate was the yanakuna, the permanent servants of the Incas. The Yanakuna’s often rose to high positions in the Empire, and like the mitma were governed directly by the Incas. Still a fourth source of labor for the royal estates was the aqllakuna, sequestered women who lived together and produced textiles, a major source of Inca wealth, and chicha, the fermented drink consumed at feasts. The allakuna were often married to men honored for their service to the Empire.

These four sources provided the labor and expertise for the management of a royal estate which might control thousands of acres of agricultural and grazing land, mines, textile factories, and other resources and employ thousands of people. Sixteenth century Spanish sources identify more than 40 ethnic groups found in one area of the Sacred Valley, an indication of the degree of resettlement and population disruption undertaken by the Incas during their reign.

The Emperor Wiracocha faced a revolt late in his reign by the Wari Chancha people. Wiracocha took refuge in Huchuy Qosqo, leaving the defense of Cuzco to his son Pachacuteq who put down the revolt, deposed his father, and became the Emperor, or Sapa Inca (1438-1471).

Huchuy Qosqo was expanded after Wiracocha was deposed. Radiocarbon dating indicates construction on the site took place between 1420 CE and 1530 CE. The Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Pizarrostole Huchuy Qosqo and burned the mummy of Viracocha in 1534.

Huchuy Qosqo

  • Huchuy Qosqo is an archaelogical site north of Cusco. In Quechua Huchuy Qosco stands for little Cusco.
  • Huchuy Qosco is located at an altitute of 3,650 meters (11,980 feet ), from here you have an amazing view over the Sacred Valley.
  • In the 20th century it was named Huchuy Qosqo, before that  it had been known as Caquia Xaquixaguana or Kakya Qawani.

In the midst of a large number of buildings, built out of stone and loam there is a 40 m long, great hall (kallanka).  To provide this site with water, the Incas built an 800m channel lined with stones for irrigation.

The Spanish took control of Huchuy Qosqo in the 1500s, after the Manco Inca Revolution (approx. 1540) and used the site as a farm. The Incas had constructed several small reservoirs for watering. During their time at Huchuy Qosqo the Spanish demolished some other Inca structures to build their larger reservoirs, which you can see today.

Below the main Huchuy Qosqo site are the recently restored storage houses called ‘qolqas’. Here are things stored such as dried meat, crops, potatoes, quinoa, and beans. In this two story structure, you can see the historic cooling storage system known as conjeras.

There are no roads leading to Huchuy Qosqo, the site is only accessible through hiking or by horse. The two main access points by foot are from Lamay from here it is a 3 hour hike or from Tauca which takes between 4-6 hours.

Huchuy Qosco is a very special and beautiful place and worth the hike. The location is one in a million, if you love nature and enjoy hiking it is a ‘must see’.

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