Blog | Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu (English)

intiwata foto

To this day, one of the most enigmatic features  within the Lost City of Machu Picchu is the Intiwatana Sundial. In the Quechua language of the ancient Incas, Intiwatana loosely means “ Where the sun is tied down”. It´s no wonder that this monolithic structure truly lives up to its name.

The Intiwatana structure has a broad base, from which a short, four faced small pillar protrudes upwards. The pillar itself is no taller than a foot, and the whole area is barely 5 feet tall. What makes it stand out is the fact this Inca sundial was actually carved out of one solid piece of granite. Having four sides that are perfectly aligned to the four cardinal  points, the Intiwatana was used in religious  ceremonies to track the path of the sun, as well as predicting solstices and equinoxes.

It´s worthy to note that Inca cosmology was deeply involved with dealing with the Mother Earth, Father Sun, the wind and the water. Thus, being synced with these elements was crucial in their beliefs, since  their relationship with nature was the basis of their success. By knowing the exact movement of the sun and being able to predict climate conditions, they could easily harness the power  of nature in order to sow better crops,and maintain a perfect balance throughout the Empire.

In every  major Inca city, it is believed there was an Intiwatana. The most famous one remains in Machu Picchu. The staff at Sumaq Hotel is ready to provide you with knowledgeable guides, who possess insider information about this fascinating Inca sundial. Since we´re sure you won´t hesitate in taking on the adventure of discovering  the ancient wisdom of the Incas through their most distinctive landmarks, our in-house specialists at Sumaq Hotel will do everything within our means to provide  you with that tailor –made visit  you´ve been dreaming of us.


templo el condor  Mapi
In the Southeast of Machu Picchu there is a marvelous rock structure with the shape of a condor with its wings fully extended. It may had been a sacred temple or the area where the urban prisons were.

The Temple of Condor forms a type of labyrinth with a rock-sculpted Andean Condor in the middle of it. It has its wings extended as if it were about to land.

The East sector of the citadel is where the major constructions of Incas’ civilization are. The buildings are pointing to the sun in order to make the stars measurements possible. The Temple of Condor is located right here, as well as the Temple of Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Rock and the Aqllawasi. In the South of the Temple of Condor there is a residential area that was devoted to the upper class. This area communicated with the temple through a series of courtyards.

Many expert historians believe to have explained the location of the Temple of Condor after having discovered the Condor’s rock structure. They estimate this was the place where the Inca civilization worshiped their gods and celebrated their rituals.

What was the Temple of Condor purpose?

There are several theories about the social function of the Temple of Condor. One of these points out the religious aspect: the Condor was a worshiped sacred bird for all the Andean people.

The second theory tries to demonstrate that in this particular area the Machu Picchu prisons were located, in which the prisoners were sacrificed as an offering to the condors. The cells are located in the underground room of the Condor’s Temple.

It is indisputable that this was a place specifically built for worshiping the “Apu Kuntur” (condor), which was one of the three sacred animals in the Inca culture, as well as the puma (mountain lion) and the serpent.  Thus its function was strictly religious. The condor was and still is a very special deity in the Andes, but the ceremonies that were carried out in its honor during the Inca Empire are unknown.


35-a-pachamama3Among the many rituals that con constitute the spiritual tourism offered by Peru, the Andean Wedding and the Payment to the Earth ritual appear among the most important ones.

Payment to the Earth ceremony

The Payment to the Earth is an ancient ceremony offered to the “Pachamama” (Mother Earth) that continues to be celebrated today by actual “shamans” of the Q’ero community in Peru.  This community is formed by the direct heirs of the Incas and is located in the mountains that surround the city of Cuzco.

During the Payment to the Earth the community prepares a ceremonial space where the “despacho” is prepared. The “despacho” is a combination of stones coming from the Sacred Mountains, tied together and wrapped in cloth. The stones are disposed in a way in which they hold energetic relations between each other.

The “despacho” is the essential offering made to the Pachamama. It is composed by many elements such as different types of food, beverages, stones, etc. But the most important gift included in it is the “kintú”: a mixture of three coca leaves.

The Andean Wedding in Cuzco                                      

The Andean Wedding establishes close ties with nature aiming to achieve its blessing. The Andean Union is performed in specific spots in Cuzco through a traditional countryside ritual.

For a long time the ancient people have maintained the sacred ritual of the Andean Wedding inherited from their ancestors. This represents a perfect bond between a man and a woman that allows them to prosper and achieve complete happiness with the protective blessings of the Mother Earth.

Spiritual Tourism in Machu Picchu

The Sumaq Hotel offers you the chance to celebrate these rituals (Payment to the Earth and Andean Wedding) in.

The Payment to the Earth ceremony organized by our hotel provides the possibility to take part in this old Andean ritual accompanied by an actual Shaman of Peru. Our hosts will enjoy a profound emotional experience of spiritual healing.

The Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu also counts with the Andean Wedding ceremony or “Arac Masin”. This symbolic ritual is perfect for those single or married couples who wish to renew their vows. It is a unique private experience in the middle of the incredible nature that surrounds Machu Picchu.

intiraymi2

The Inti Raymi was the most important celebration in the Inca calendar. Back in those days it used to point out the beginning of the year, and it was held in honour of the Sun God, to whom the Incas asked for abundance in their harvest for the starting season. Today it is celebrated every 24th of June and it represents a significant tradition for the city of Cuzco.

Inti Raymi during the Inca Empire

The Inti Raymi is a celebration taking place every 24th of June to worship the Sun God. Formerly it was the most majestic festivity of the now lost Inca Empire.

This ceremony was the Inca equivalent to what is now our New Year’s Eve. This solar celebration was actually a ritual through which the New Year was inaugurated and the past year was put to an official end. This corresponded to the beginning of the new agricultural cycle.

Inti Raymi nowadays

Cuzco is ready for this party many days before the actual 24th of June, and when the day finally comes, people from all over the city form a crowd around the terrace in front of the Saksaywaman fort.

The most typical music takes over the Plaza de Armas square of Cuzco and many young bands exhibit proudly the inherited dances from their ancestors.

Surrounded by the music, four actors representing the four areas in the Inca Empire walk by showing the typical clothes. Finally an actor appears on the scene; he represents the ancient Inca governor and is carried over a litter made of gold and silver, accompanied by an entourage symbolizing the nobles and senior officials of the Empire.

The staging is fantastic and manages to stay realistic. The show represents a very important part of the history of Peru and gives a little something extra to the Inti Raymi ceremony.

Where does the Inti Raymi take place?

The Inti Raymi takes place in the Plaza de Armas square in Cusco, although the main stage is the Saksaywaman Fort, located in the northern area of the city, 3650 meters above sea level.

How to get to Saksaywaman?

It is a 10 minute ride from the road heading to Saksaywaman. Since it is one of the most tourist points in Cuzco it is very easy to find. Another easy way to get there is simply to take the public bus towards Saksaywamanand stop along with the many tourists.

The Inti Raymi has become the most important festivity in Cuzco. It has transcended the Peruvian frontiers and it is now an excuse for many foreign visitors to visit the city during this time of the year.

IMG_2765 cirsto blanco

Located only 5km. away from Cuzco, this impressive statue opens its arms as if it were protecting the city. Not only the white Christ of Cuzco but also the place where it is raised have mysteries and legends of the old Inca times waiting to be revealed.

Cuzco’s White Christ: the best panoramic view of Cuzco.

Ten minutes away by car, on top of the Pukamogo hill (meaning “red hill” in Quechua) raises this amazing monument. The piece was donated in 1945 by the local Israeli-Palestinian community. It is an astonishing spot from where to have the best panoramic view of Cuzco.

It was built by the local sculptor Francisco Olazo Allende, author of many renowned pieces in the city such as the Sculptures of the Santa Clara’s Arch located in the San Francisco square.

The White Christ was actually constructed by local workers in a very traditional handmade style, it was a long process until it got the characteristic white shining color that has nowadays. The head of the statue was modeled first, then the hands and finally the face of Christ.

Legend tells that the different parts of the statue were made in the Siete Angelitos street in the neighborhood of San Blas, they were made out of granite covered with plaster and marble.

The legend of the Cuzco’s White Christ and the Pukamoqo hill

The Pukamoqo hill has a legend on its own. Rumor has it that in the times of the Incas it was a sacred place because this hill guards in its soil all the lands of the Tawantinsuyo Empire. This means that there is soil brought from Colombia, Ecuador, the north and south of Peru, as well as Chile, Bolivia and Tucumán (Argentina).

During the night the statue is completely lightened and from down the hill you can watch it contrasted with the dark background of the night. This makes it looks as if it were floating over the city. It is a most beautiful picture that every tourist will surely remember.

How to arrive to the White Christ of Cuzco

You can get there taking the road that goes to Saksaywaman. It is a 10 minute ride from Cusco. Another easy way is to take the public bus also heading to Saksaywamanand stop along with all the tourists.

  • Address: Cerro Pukamoqo, Cuzco.
  • Opening hours: The piece is located in the open air and has free access.
  • Ticket price: Free.

 

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A few meters away from the Plaza de Armas of Cuzco, this neighborhood is one of the most pictures in the city. Known by its narrow and steep streets, full of artists, artisans and all sorts of shops where you can buy popular art. The beautiful  is also in the area.

 San Blas origins.

During the Inca times, this area was one of the most privileged. Despite of being distant to the center of the city it was inhabited mainly by nobles Incas. Today it is a central neighborhood due to the urban growth of Cuzco.

Art and handicraft

San Blas neighborhood is also known as “the craftsman neighborhood” or “the artists’ district” because it holds a large number of little workshops and stores where you can find from little souvenirs of Cuzco to fine art exhibitions and sales.

Many celebrated artists have their workshops in the ancient houses in San Blas neighborhood: the Mendéliv family (famous because of their long neck archangel’s figures), and the families Olave, Mérida, Aguilar and Segovia among others who form the artisan tradition in Cuzco. 

San Blas Church

The San Blas Church dates from the middle of the 16th century and is believed to have been raised over an ancient Inca shrine. It was originally built with clay walls, which had to be restored with stone after the earthquakes in 1650 and 1950.

Apart from its remarkable beauty, it has a pulpit that constitutes a marvelous work of art: a one-piece wooden pulpit carved by hand by an anonymous artist who, according to the historians, took four years to complete it. The wood is thought to be taken from a centenary cedar tree located at the time in the “Regocijo” square.

San Blas Square

This charming square is located in the upper part of the neighborhood of San Blas. It has two fountains: an old circular one in the middle and a modern waterfall lighten from behind. Sometimes this is used as a scenario for different kinds of shows.

Every Saturday a fair takes place in the San Blas square where local artisans show and sell their work.

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In the beginning of the Colonial period in Cuzco, the conquerors and those who represented the king of Spain in Peru started to settle in this city. They built opulent and luxurious residences many of which were constructed over the old Inca palaces. This produced and eclectic architecture that fused both Spanish and Inca styles together.

The Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s house

This refined colonial-styled chateau is considered one of the most beautiful in Cuzco. The historian and most important chronicler of the ancient history of Peru, Garcilaso de la Vega, used to live here.

It is located in front of the splendid “Regocijo” Square, in the city of Cuzco, just at the crossroads of Garcilaso and Heladeros Streets. An old Inca wall serves as its base, while the rest of the construction follows a colonial style.

Many recognized Peruvian artists restored the house in several occasions. Today it is the house for the Regional Historical Museum where there is a permanent collection of local artists.

  Admiral’s Mansion (Casona o Palacio del Almirante)

Francisco Alderete Maldonado was its first owner, a Spanish admiral who ordered the construction in the beginnings of the 17th Century. This palace-shaped house is a valuable sample of the architecture after the Spanish conquest. Its facade is basically an Inca wall with Corinthian pillars that hold the coats of arms of the Alderete and Maldonado families.

The Casona del Almirante house, was first the seat of the Archdiocese, then Government House and finally it was bought by the University of San Antonio de Abad. Today the Inca Museum works there, with an amazing collection of archeological pieces, mummies and items that belonged to the Inca and pre-Inca culture. 

Cabrera House (Casa Cabrera)

In its facade you can still observe the remains of an old wall that was once part of an Inca palace. According to the historians it worked as a school or a knowledge center until the arrival of the Spanish. The house belonged to Don Luis Gerónimo de Cabrera, mayor of Cuzco in 1649. Over the entrance lintel there is still the coat of arms of the Cabrera family.

In 2002, the Cabrera House was transformed into the main office of the Museum of Pre Columbian Art (MAP, Museo de Arte Precolombina) which holds a large collection of jewelry, pottery and other objects of the ancient Peruvian cultures.  

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