While explaining the extensive engineering knowledge of the Inca civilization, Tambomachay is certainly one of the perfect exemplaries. However, not much is known about this ancient construction but at least we can deduct some of its main purposes thanks to how the structure has been assembled.
The famous prehispanic culture was widely recognized for acquiring the artistic, cultural, and engineering skills of the communities they had conquered. Somehow, they managed to exploit this information and improve it throughout the years.
Without a doubt, the Inca Empire had a complex system of hydraulic engineering as shown in the Moray Archeological Site, Tipon, and even in Machu Picchu, an ancestral citadel that keeps on impressing us. Likewise, Tambomachay is one of those impressive Inca remains that must be talked about, essentially because of its remote location and the possible functions it served.
Therefore, we’d like to share with you all the hidden details of this archeological site that has significantly marked a path through the architecture and engineering evolution of the Incas.
Etymologically, Tambomachay is a composed Quechua word, where Tambo means “Place” or “Storage,” and Machay means “Rest,” the proper translation would be “Place of Rest,” which gives us a hint of the potential purpose of this impressive structure.
Luckily, the sacred location wasn’t severely harmed by the hand of the Spaniards, thereby, most of its structure remains intact and for fact, some of its water channels have been functioning until the current date.
According to archeologists, due to its architectural style, Tambomachay was a Sacred location for the Inca elite, it seemed to be a worship place where the Inca emperor used to bathe and cleanse his body and soul, which is why it is often referred to as the “Bath of the Inca.” Likewise, some theories point it out as a cult center, where the ancient community used to perform rituals and offerings to the water.
During Inca times, the water represented the masculinity of the world, whilst the Pachamama symbolizes femininity, both were portrayed as the fertility by the Inca culture. Therefore, they considered the worshiping of the water very important since it was the source of all life.
Tambomachay consists of a series of aqueduct canals and waterfalls, four walls that fit perfectly to a base held by three parallel terraces. The principal water fountain in this structure is called Ñusta Bath since it is similar to the ones found in Ollantaytambo, there are two more waterfalls that consistently supply the same amount of water.
Apparently, the Incas managed to conduct water from a nearby spring or river to this location, however, it is uncertain to know the source of it, which makes it even more intriguing. In addition, this location also had a royal garden perfectly irrigated by complex water channels that were especially made for this function.
Other historians have theorized that Tambomachay served as a control center for the people that came to the Cusco from the Antisuyo, though this was never confirmed. Its strategic location offers the characteristics of a military outpost but it is significantly more related to be a water cult center or a resting point for the Inca elite.
Thanks to the foundations discovered after the excavations, now we can deduct that it was an enclosured location, where the Incas looked to integrate the surrounding nature with the structure of the water temple. The civilization was characterized for perfectly merging their sacred buildings and citadels with the natural scenery.
Tambomachay is located on a hilltop, 8 kilometers away from the city of Cusco. It is part of the archeological circuit of the Imperial City, composed of three more archeological sites.
To visit the so-called Inca Bath, one must acquire the Tourist Ticket, which offers the entrance to different prehispanic sites in the outskirts of Cusco. If you’re planning to do this on your own, remember that you’ll need to hire a local guide to enjoy this attraction to its fullest.
Getting there on your own is as easy as taking a taxi from Cusco, bear in mind that transport could be limited at the archeological site, which is why you must take precautions and hire a certified taxi driver for this adventure. Price may range from 10-15 soles per trip.
Luckily for you, this attraction is included in our Archeological City Tour, where you’ll get to experience all the Inca settlements around the city plus an exclusive walking tour through the Historic Center of Cusco.
Tambomachay is located at 3,700 meters above sea level, situated only 20 minutes away from the city center, near the archeological site of Pukapukara. It is certainly one of the unmissable attractions in Cusco.
- Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 07:00h to 18:00h.
- Entrance: Tourist Ticket, which includes all the sights within the archeological circuit of Cusco (Included in all our travel packages).
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