This citadel was built on a steep hill two kilometers from Cusco. The Killke started construction around 1100 and the Inca expanded it during the 13th century. According to the oral history of the Inca, the emperor envisioned the main plaza in Cusco as the stomach of a puma, the river as its spine and tail, the citadel as its head, and its jagged defensive walls the teeth. Without using mortar, they cut boulders to fit so exactly that a sheet of paper would not fit between them. The level of precision hadn’t been seen since ancient Egypt, and when Spanish conquistadors arrived, they were surprised at their skill. When the Spaniards began to take over the land, the Inca led a nearly victorious attack but suffered an immense defeat in the end. Afterwards, the Spaniards took all the stones they could carry to build their houses, leaving only the large boulders that remain today. Its plaza would have accommodated thousands of people for ceremonies and rituals. Today, some use the nearby field for athletic activities and for annual Inca festivities.

Buckingham Palace


3 km from Cusco, Peru

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Sunday 7:00 am – 5:30 pm



S/.70 cash only



The walk from the Plaza de Armas in Cusco to Saqsaywaman is about half an hour. While no buildings remain, many come to marvel at the ingenious and masterful stone walls made from perfectly-cut boulders. If you come by June 24, Peruvians will be celebrating the Incan new year, Inti Raymi, with music, food, and colorful, woven aya huma masks. The mask represents the lasting energy found in nature. The festival culminates with ritual baths to drive out negative energy and receive new energy for the next year. Another significant festival is Warachikuy on the third Sunday of September. Historically, young men would tackle tests of skill and bravery to earn the status of a man. Today, the Peruvians celebrate with rites, dances, ritual battles, and competitions.



What’s nearby? 

Saqsaywaman is one of many Inca sites around Cusco: the slide down the Inca throne of Rodadero, the temple and spa resort Tambomachay, the terraced citadel Pisac, and the legacy of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu.



Interested in touring Peru and visiting Saqsaywaman? We offer five different tours that explore this region.

Clink on the links below and explore the incredible country of Peru.

Machu Picchu & The Sacred Valley – 9 Days      Best of Peru Tour – 15 Days      Explore South America – 30 Days      Best of South America – 21 Days      Best of South America: Peru, Argentina, Chile, & Ecuador – 25 Days        

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Cusco, Peru


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