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Cusco and the Valleys to the South

DESCRIPTION

This circuit is located south east of Cusco, in the South Valley of cusco City. We will visit the archeological site of Tipón, Piquillaqta and Andahuaylillas village, A great place to observe several royal chambers of the Inca Wiraqocha.

ITINERARY

Day 01: south out of Cusco

Andahuaylillas Cusco
Andahuaylillas
CUSCO

Breakfast in the hotel. We head south out of Cusco via the town of Tipon, known for its Cuy al Horno (Oven Baked Guinea Pig).

We continue for about 36 km southeast, to the town of Andahuaylillas, originally named Antawaylla, which translates to "field of copper". Andahuaylillas main attraction is a humble looking church, called the “Church of San Pedro of Andahuaylillas”.

This church, built in 1631 over an ancient Incan Temple, was one of the first attempts by the Conquistadores and the Catholic Church to convert the pre-Spanish inhabitants of Peru. The church is of simple construction, made of thick adobe mud-brick walls, common in colonial buildings, and features a relatively modest structure: a single nave with a bell tower and a façade with two solid stone pillars. While the exterior of the church looks rather humble, it is the interior, that makes this one of the most valued jewels of colonial art in Peru, sometimes called the “Capilla Sixtina” or "Sistine Chapel" of America.

The interior of the Church of San Pedro of Andahuaylillas is covered with Baroque art and many decorations. It has numerous, beautiful paintings of the “Escuela Cusqueña” or “Academy of Cusco”. There is also the mural by Luis de Riaño representing the path to glory and the path to hell. The main altar is decorated in gold leaf from the Amazon region. The church also contains a majestic piano.

Raqchi Cusco
Raqchi
CUSCO

Our last stop is the archaeological site of Raqchi, an Incan archaeological site in the Cusco region sometimes referred to as the Temple of Wiracocha. Its town resides nearby and shares the same name. Both lie along the Vilcanota (Urubamba) River.

The complex of Raqchi consists of several different areas each designated with a specific function. The most prominent structure is the Temple of Wiracocha, an enormous rectangular two-story roofed structure that measures 92 metres (300 ft) by 25.5 metres (84 ft). This structure consists of a central adobe wall some 18 to 20 meters in height with an andesite base. It is flanked on each side by a row of eleven columns. The foundations measure 4 metres (13 ft) for the wall and the columns are classic high Inca stonework with the remaining height built of adobe.

Prior to its destruction by the Spaniards, the temple had what is believed to be the largest single roof in the Incan Empire, having its peak at the central wall, then stretching over the columns and some 25 metres (82 ft) beyond on each side. The huge proportions of the temple and its prominence on the site explain why the whole archaeological complex is also sometimes referred to as the Temple of Wiracocha.

Evidence indicate that Raqchi was a complex village with multiple constructions for various purposes; including farming terraces, "kanchas" (apartments), "wayranas" (buildings having only 3 walls), "qolqas" (storehouses), different shrines and religious water fountains.

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