New station! From San Pedro (Cusco) to Machu Picchu in a single train
We keep improving to make the journey to Machu Picchu an incredible experience! Starting from May, Inca Rail has a new route available: from San Pedro (just 10 minutes walking...
Cusco never ceases to amaze us. The capital of Tahuantinsuyo always has new places to offer to the tourists, history sites where you can explore what was the largest empire in America.
One of these places is the Sacred Valley. Sacsayhuamán, Maras, Moray… We’re sure you’ve heard about these tourist destinations, but what do you say if we named you Ancashamarca or Urco? We want to make a discovery tour through the other side of the Sacred Valley, the hidden one, in which to delve further into the history of the pre-Inca and Inca empires.
In the northern area of the Sacred Valley, 50 km north of Cusco, is located Calca, a province of just over 60,000 inhabitants that breathes history in all its corners. Today we are going to talk about two archeological places located in Calca, less explored by tourists but also exciting. Do you want to know them? Keep reading!
Ancashmarca, after the traces of the late intermediate period
Although most of the archaeological sites that exist today in Cusco correspond to the Inca period, we can also find some remains of the pre-Inca cultures. An example of this is Ancashmarca, an archaeological complex built on the steep slopes of a large mountain, which functioned both in the late intermediate and in the later period, that corresponding to the Inca Empire.
Ancashmarca is divided into two sectors in which its circular buildings stand out. It is believed that this place served both as a place of housing and as a storage site for food (through the famous colcas) and for funerary ceremonies.
To get to Ancashmarca, you have to travel to the small city of Calca and, here, take a bus or a taxi that goes across the 23 km that separate the city from the archaeological complex.
Urco, the stage of the cult to water
Just 14 km south of Ancashmarca is the Archaeological Complex of Urco, a place that stands out for its impressive stepped pyramid and for being the setting for the Unu Urco, a water cult festival that is celebrated nowadays and that brings together to more than a thousand actors and five thousand spectators.
The Archaeological Complex of Urco was built in the Inca period and it is formed by five sectors. At present, this place is inhabited by families of the area, who have inherited the ancient techniques of Incan agriculture and who use the platforms to plant their crops. Its best product is the delicious giant corn of Cusco.
As we mentioned above, the Archaeological Complex of Urco is located 14 km south of Ancashmarca and 6 km from Calca, so you can visit the two archaeological sites in the same day.
The Great Museum of Tahuantinsuyo
But the jewel of the Sacred Valley hopes to be the Great Museum of Tahuantinsuyo, a place that will gather thousands of objects found in the different archaeological complexes and citadels of the Inca era.
This museum, which will be located near the Sacsayhuaman fortress, will have six thematic pavilions, related to the different areas of Tahuantinsuyo, information about the Qhapaq Ñan or Inca Trail and areas dedicated to the beliefs and arts of this empire, among other things.
The Great Museum of Tahuantinsuyo, in addition, expects to show more than 46,000 pieces recovered from Yale University, which were taken by Hiram Bingham after the discovery of Machu Picchu.
The opening date of the Great Museum of Tahuantinsuyo is not yet established, so if you are planning your trip to Cusco, stay tuned and, if you are lucky, you can enjoy what promises to be one of the best museums in our country.
As you can see, although you travel many times to Cusco there will be always places to discover and still fall in love with this city. Take the train to Machu Picchu and come visit us, we’ll wait for you on board!