Although this is one of the less known archeological sites within the Cusco region, it is of great importance due to its architectural and engineering features. However, not much is known about this archeological site but now we can deduct even more thanks to its remaining structure.
Tipon is one of the perfect examples of the hydraulic engineering knowledge of the Incas, where most of its aqueducts and water fountains have kept functioning perfectly. Unfortunately, there are no official records that can confirm the real purpose of this construction nor its original name.
Nonetheless, the impressiveness of the site could not be overshadowed by the lack of information since the Incas achieved a fine finish that positioned it as one of the Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
As seen at the Wari settlement in the outskirts of Cusco, Pikillacta, the Inca civilization managed to adapt these skills and improve them over time. The evolutionary progress of the famous culture was linked to the different communities they integrated to the Tahuantinsuyo Empire.
Therefore, if you’re a history lover just like us, we highly recommend you visiting the Tipon Archaeological Site, where you’ll get to understand even more of the renowned Andean people and their ancestral culture.
As aforementioned, the actual name of tipon was lost during the colonization process, as well as any information that indicated its function or who might’ve ordered its construction. However, archeologists believe that Inca Garcilaso de la Vega could have described it in his book “Comentarios Reales de los Incas.”
Apparently, the precinct was built for the father of the Inca Emperor Wiracocha and the fine finish of the construction is distinctive of any Inca royal residency, which may confirm this theory.
To help you understand more, Wiracocha was crowned emperor when he defeated the Chankas, but this tremendous victory was granted thanks to his father since he decided to back out of the battle and the population later overthrew him.
Once Wiracocha was the ruling emperor of the Incas, he ordered to build a house for his father in the outskirts of Cusco. According to De La Vega, it was located between the angostura of Muyna and Quespikancha, surrounded by gardens, croplands, and natural springs, a place meant for a member of the Inca elite.
Therefore, we can just assume that the famous chronicler was referring to Tipon with this piece in his book. Other historians point it out as a water cult center, whilst some believe it was an agricultural laboratory just like the Moray circular terraces. However, due to the characteristic architecture of the place, it could’ve been all of the above.
Overall, the archeological site consists of wide agricultural terraces irrigated by a network of water channels fed by a natural spring and it covers an extension of 239 hectares. The Tipon Archeological Complex is also part of the Qhapaq Ñan, a trail network commonly known as the Inca Trail, which connected the whole Inca Empire.
Due to the extension of this historical monument, the site is divided into different sectors where royal and minor enclosures, Inca terracing, and hydraulic engineering will leave you breathless:
• Aqueducts and Irrigation Channels: The complex hydraulic system is located at the northern side of Tipon. They are thoughtfully articulated to supply water through all the agricultural areas and the potential cult water center of the site.
• Agricultural Terraces: They are characterized for having a fine elaboration. According to archeologists, the terraces were used as an agricultural laboratory as seen in the Archaeological Site of Moray since their microclimates make them suitable for this practice.
• Royal Precincts: Apparently, it was constructed for the father of the Inca Emperor Wiracocha. This is the most spacious area of the complex composed of extraordinary water fountains, gardens, and a perfectly assembled house with a typical Inca architecture style.
• Intihuatana: As in most sacred and royal Inca settlements, a place was dedicated to honor the Sun God, and to keep track of the climate conditions. Tipon’s Intihuatana is located on top of a mountain near the archeological complex, composed of several precincts and small plazas that offer an outstanding view of the site.
• Cruz Moqo: Located at the northern part of Tipon, it was an observation and control center that granted views to the occidental side of the Imperial City of Cusco.
• The Wall: It was a defensive structure that reached over 5 meters of height. It must have taken years to assemble it, however, it is uncertain to know if it was constructed by the Incas but the wall did serve as a “Pukara” during those times.
Tipon is located in the South Valley of Cusco, it takes about one hour to get there by car. If you’re planning to do this on your own, keep in mind that you will need to hire a certified taxi for a round trip ride since transport is nearly limited in this area.
However, we advise you to take a tour where you’ll get to visit this and even more attractions within the Cusco region. Luckily for you, we have another archeological circuit of the Imperial City of the Incas, get to know more about the South Valley Tour while you're here!
In this opportunity, you’ll get to visit Tipon, Pikillacta, and Andahuaylillas, three historical monuments situated a few kilometers away from Cusco. Dare to uncover the mysteries of the Cusqueñan region, find out everything about it in this travel package.
- Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 07:00h to 18:00h.
- Entrance: The Touristic Ticket is needed to enter the archeological site, it includes all the sights within the South Valley Tour. (Ticket included in our packages).
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