Waqra Pukara – a little known Inca ruin
(Waqra Pukara – Quechua for “horned fortress” – is an Inca site located approximately 2.5 hours from Cusco)

Waqrapukara or Huajcrapukara, is an archaeological site located at 4,104 m.a.s.l. in the District of Acos, Province of Acomayo, Department of Cusco.

It is strategically located joining the Apurimac valley and the Pomacanchi plateau, it is a cultural landscape with cognitive elements of wisdom and power, where two rocky protuberances stand, with a copied architecture with carved stones adapted to the monument, walled with semicircular retaining walls, with steps, trapezoidal windows and niches, enclosures, accesses to small spaces, an east facing central square with single, double and triple jamb trapezoidal constructions, including a ceremonial stone or “Waka ” and a “Machay” or cave.

In the Quechua language “Waqra” means “Horn” and “Pukara” is equivalent to “Fortress” which would translate to “horn-shaped fortress”. Also the inhabitants of this place call it “Llama Pukara”, by the rocky bulges similar to the ears of a llama and would be supported by the cave paintings with drawing of flames that are in the steep rocks very near to this sacred center; thus musmo other compares it with caps of four points used by the cultures of Wari and/or Tiahuanaku (in Pomacanchui, evidences of the Wari culture were found).  

Huayqui is a small village where about 30 families reside, their livelihood is clearly agriculture, where they cultivate corn, potatoes, coca, quinoa, tarwi, ollucos or mullets, the river Apurimac (2925 m.a.s.l.) provides them with trout. From Huayqui, the route is the most accessible, informed by a horseshoe trail that rises to Waqrapukara, a stretch of approximately 7 km.

There are references to the existence of animals such as pumas, deer, foxes, in this area there is a biodiversity of birds such as the lluthu or partridge, the hummingbird, the chihuanco and a flora with exotic and native species such as llaulli, Canto, molle tapanca, kiswar, chachacomo, queña, muña, kuñuca, has a temperate microclimate despite the altitude at which it is found.

On the route to Waqra Pukara, there are rocky shelters with evidence of human occupation with funerary vestiges, rocky walls blackened by the action of smoke perhaps contemporary or ancient, on the way there are cliffs with manifestation of rock art painting flames and snakes probably the latter representing the Apurimac river, in the crests of the mountain anthropomorphic and/or zoomorphic images are sighted, carved by nature, attributing those of the place to the image of their ancestors the “Canchis” whose formations occasionally seem to carry a Montera (black velvet hat) on the head.

The geographical aspect presents a varied surface of mountains broken plains full of rocks / boulders and weeds, geologically it is a very impressive scenery for present sedimentary formations, plutonic and volcanic, composed of shale conglomerates shales, limestone’s, sandstones in the route you can appreciate incredible capricious forms of rocks made by natural actions of wind erosion or other natural phenomena that over thousands of years have shaped this part of the valley of the “Apurimac” where ancient populations have been settled leaving archaeological sites in current research.

The architectural site of Waqra Pukara contains evidences of Inka construction pattern, with sacred enclosures and Waka, the construction is of sedimentary and rustic rigging, the stones have the form of polyhedrons are correctly assembled, in some sectors the mixture of mud and wedge of pebbles was used, the face of these ashlars are lightly cushioned, the access openings of triple jamba’s are sealed or walled, their walls are inclined, oriented towards the East or sunrise, their walls are inclined, oriented towards the East or sunrise, the stones have the form of polyhedrons are correctly assembled, in some sectors the mixture of mud and wedge of pebbles was used, the face of these ashlars are lightly cushioned.

To the north is the Apurimac river and the tutelary hills of the archaeological sites of the province of Paruro, along with other sacred mountains and pre-Hispanic llaqtas integrated through visualization and visibility and other architectural and symbolic elements built for this purpose, these aspects were part of the identity and ideology in the Andean culture.

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