Pisac is one of the most important Archaeological Sites in the Sacred Valley. It is
comes from a type of partridge very common in the area known as “Pisaka.” A
vital Inka road once snaked its way up the canyon that enters the Urubamba
Valley in Pisac. The city, at the entrance to this gorge site, controlled a route
that connected the Inka Empire with Paucartambo, on the border of the eastern
jungles. Set high above a valley floor patch-worked by patterned fields and
rimmed by vast terracing, the stonework and panoramas in Pisac Inkan city are
magnificent. Terraces, water ducts and steps have been cut out of solid rock,
and in the upper sector of the site, the main Sun Temple is similar to the one in
Machu Picchu. Above the temple lie still more buildings, and among the higher
crevices and rocky overhangs Today it is still possible to observe the
surrounding wall that protected the most important zone of the Inkan city.
Moreover, inside the protected area supplied water for agricultural
development. It seems that water for consumption of the inhabitants was
harnessed on the mountain upper side and transported through underground
channels. Towards the West, on the irregular almost vertical surface of the
mountain there is a large amount of something like hollows: they are looted
tombs of the pre-Hispanic cemetery in the region. Today the cemetery is known
as “Tantanamarka,” and according to some estimates it must have contained
about 10,000 tombs. In accodance with the Inkan belief, it was stated that once
a person died, they would begin a newer life.

When the invaders arrived, they soon knew that inside the Inkan tombs they
could also find jewels of precious stones and metals; thus, they began with their
diabolical profanation and pillaging of ancient Peruvian tombs. That is why that
the cemetery in Pisac contains mostly looted tombs and some mummies
deprived of their jewels and personal belongings.

Intiwatana (inti = sun, watana = year) is the most important district in Pisac. It
corresponds to the ceremonial core or spiritual complex of the city that has the
best quality constructions; that is, with polished-joint carved stones that have a
rectangular outer surface. Its location on the mountain upper section is superb
and dominates visually a great territory of the valley, this sector must have been
made up of diverse temples. In the complex central part, one may find a
semicircular building with one lateral straight wall whose main gate is toward the
south, by deduction and analogy with other similar buildings it is established that
this was the Sun Temple in Pisac. In the middle of this building there is an altar
carved in the in-situ rock, with a central interrupted conical protuberance that is
known as “Intiwatana” (“Solar Meter”, a “Saywa” or “Sukanka”) and must have
been used to enable the observation of the solar movements with the aid of
some other elements or carved angles that served as “pegs” for calculating the
shadow projections. The altar served to carry out different ceremonies and
celebrations to the Sun.

Descending the Sun Temple stairway, farther to the southwest there is another
interrupted conical carving that was surely used in a close relationship with the
“Intiwatana”. Even farther down to the west there is a carved stone altar and a
“stepping symbol” sculpted in  natural rock representing the three stages of the
Andean World: the heaven, the earthly world and the underground. That
sculpture was possibly used as a supporting element for solar observations too.

The colonial town named Pisac (2,970m.a.s.l.), in the lower part of the valley,
was established as a consequence of the famous “Indians Reductions” by which
the Quechuas were joined in small towns. The Pisac Market is at present in this
modern and picturesque Andean Village, which is best known for its market,
which draws hundreds of tourists. In spite of its popularity the market retains
much of its local charm, at least in the area where villagers from miles around
gather to barter and sell their produce. In the market tourist section,  one can
buy a wide variety of handicraft – mostly the same things you spot in Cusco.

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