The Inca culture was certainly one of the most important civilizations of South America; they managed to acquire a great political, administrative, and religious power during their height, which positioned them as a nearly unstoppable force that could have conquered a great part of the continent if it wasn’t because of the arrival of the Spaniards.
However, the prevailing legacy of the Incas is deeply rooted in the Peruvian culture, especially in the Andes, where they established the capital of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire. Thereby, Cusco for being the cradle of such an important pre-Columbian government, shares great history, mythology, and traditions.
Before the Spanish conquest, the Cusco valley was a flourishing land, a long-promised paradise to the Incas that thanks to their organization they managed to expand their empire beyond the Peruvian lands.
The Quechua civilization adopted and improved the knowledge of the cultures they eventually conquered, something that was portrayed and somewhat preserved in their agricultural and engineering structures.
The so-called Imperial City of the Incas is the perfect example of their ever-growing wisdom and evolution. Unfortunately, not all of their buildings remained untouched since most of them were destroyed during the colonization process.
Nonetheless, now we know a little more of the main constructions in the Historic Center of Cusco due the research carried out by historians and archeologists. Luckily, we can still appreciate the perfectly carved stones and Inca walls that are harmonically blended and overlapped on the collusion of these two eras.
Some of those ancestral buildings were used as the foundations of the colonial structures we have today, and though most of them were lost in battle, we can just glance at the past of these Inca buildings thanks to documentation from the Colonial times and the way they were assembled.
Allegedly, the Inca palaces in Cusco had different purposes besides being the royal residency of some former emperor. We managed to gather significant information from each of them so you get to know more of the pre-Columbian side of Cusco. Continue reading and uncover the enigma behind the current colonial structures!
While talking about the Inca Palaces, many people may think of Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, and other archeological sites around Cusco. However, little did they know that they were walking among them since Cusco is not only composed of colonial architecture, and stones stolens from the sacred places of the Incas.
Besides, the Imperial City lies underneath most of those constructions. The Inca architecture was characterized for its anti-seismic activity, that somehow withstood centuries of earthquakes unlike some colonial buildings that had to be reconstructed several times.
Unfortunately, that was a late attribution to the Incas but a certain mock at the Spanish architects. As the city grew throughout the virreinal government, the Inca remains seemed to disappear as time went by.
But now, leaving all that conflict aside, we can value and respect the heritage we have today, where the harmonical conversion of two eras gives us the authenticity and recognition of Cusco as the Archeological Capital of the Americas.
For a better understanding, we have listed the most important Inca Palaces with some of the information collected by some historians and archeologists in Peru:
It used to be the former residential palace of Pachacutec, the Inca emperor who ordered the construction of Machu Picchu. Qasana was located in the surrounding area of Plaza de Armas, it had an extension that spread through the Portal de Panes, Tecsecocha, Tigre, Procuradores, and Plateros streets.
After the Spanish conquerors gained control over Cusco, those lands were owned by Francisco Pizarro. However, there’s not much left of the structure except for the foundations of the Inca structure. Nowadays, the solar is composed of several restaurants, bars, night clubs, and tourism agencies.
The Palace was located just next to the Qasana palace, which front faced Plaza de Armas. According to chroniclers, it was constructed for Inca Roca, the sixth Inca ruler of the Empire. After the arrival of the Spanish, the site was assigned to Gonzalo Pizarro.
Colonial residencies were built on top of the remains of the palace, and only its foundations can barely be appreciated. Currently, the area of the site comprehends several touristy establishments, bars, coffee shops, and restaurants.
3. Kiswar Kancha
According to historians, it was the greatest Inca palace situated in the surroundings of the main square, it belonged to the Inca Wiracocha and was composed of several buildings and courtyards. It was located in the area of the Cathedral of Cusco and the Jesus, Maria, y Jose Temple. Unfortunately, there is nothing left of this structure.
Qolqampata is one of the strategically positioned Inca buildings in Cusco since it was located near the Sacsayhuaman Archeological Site. The Inca Palace was constructed by the first Inca Manco Capac and its remains are located in the San Cristobal Church.
5. Hatun Kancha
During Inca times, it was the palace of the Amaru Inca Yupanqui, and the residential place of his dynasty. However, several colonial houses were built on top of the ancient site, which now serve as touristy establishments. It was located between the current streets of Triunfo, Santa Catalina Angosta and Herrajes.
6. Amaru Kancha
Amaru Kancha is a Quechua word that means "Temple of the Snakes," It was built by the order of the Inca Huayna Capac. The palace extended all the way to the Saphy River. During the Spanish conquest, the lot was assigned to Hernando Pizarro.
Later, the Catholic church began the construction of the Iglesia Compañía de Jesús, an important colonial religious structure. Today, you can appreciate the walls that were part of the Amaru Kancha Palace from Loreto Street.
The word "Pucamarca” is a composed Quechua word that means “Red Town.” The palace corresponded to the tenth Inca ruler, Tupac Inca Yupanqui. It was a huge structure with a rectangular peripheral frame.
It is said that Tupac Inca Yupanqui ordered the construction of the palace in such a way so that there was no doubt in knowing who, between him and his brother, was in command of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire.
8. Hatun Rumiyoc
It is a distinctive Inca Palace composed of huge stones built by the order of Inca Roca. After the spanish conquest, the site was assigned to build a colonial house that now is the so-called Palacio Arzobispal, also known as the Religious Art Museum.
However, a great part of its ancient structure was preserved and can be appreciated from the outside. One of the remarkable attractions of the Inca Palace is the Rock of the Twelve Angles, a perfectly carved rock positioned on one side of the construction.
If you wish to visit any of these attractions, we recommend taking our exclusive Archeological City Tour in Cusco, where you get to know the most important attractions within the city and the archeological sites that surround it.
The city tour is included in all our travel experiences and it’s exclusively for Viagens Machu Picchu passengers only. We care to provide everything you need to have an authentic adventure through our country.
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