South of Cuzco
Located about 50 meters from the Cuzco – Puno modern road, lies the entrance to the adobe wall ruins of Piquillacta (“City of the fleas”). It was an administrative center at the southern end of the Huari empire. This empire did greatly influence what we now know as Peru, from Cajamarca (northern Peru) to Tiahuanaco (Bolivia). The archaeological evidence from Piquillacta is confusing, but mostly suggests that this was not a place for permanent residents, more for storing supplies, for housing itinerant groups of workers, for tribute gathering and distributions and for ceremonies.
Located a few kilometers before Oropesa, 4 km from the road, lies this extensive beautiful Inca site with excellent terracing at the head of a small valley with an ingenious irrigation system.
Located 40 km South East of Cuzco, this is a fascinating 17th century Jesuit church, also known as the Andean Sistine Chapel, because of its beautiful frescoes, and internal architecture.
About 120 km from Cuzco, a few kilometers before Sicuani is the little village of San Pedro de Cacha and the ruins of Raqchi, which look like a huge aqueduct from the road. These are the remains of the Viracocha Temple, built in the late 14th century by the Inca Viracocha. This is one of the only remaining examples of a two-storey building of Inca architecture. 90 meters long and 15 meters high, it was probably the largest roofed building ever build by the Incas. Its stonework is equal to Cusco or Machu Picchu. The village hosts in early June a very colorful event, including traditional dancing.
Ausangate Mountain (6384m):
This is the site of the traditional festival of Q’oyoriti, an ancient ritual held in early June. There is an exhausting two hours walk up the mountain from the nearest road at Mawayani, beyond Ocongate. It is a complex and chaotic spectacle, attended by hundreds of dance groups, and dominated by the character of the Ukuku, the bear dancer, whose night vigil on the surrounding glaciers is the festival’s best-known feature.
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