Koricancha was an Inca temple. It was also called, The Sun Temple. Incas loved the sun! They worshiped their sun god, Inti. Koricancha was a shrine to Inti. The word, Koricanca means “garden enclosure” or “golden garden” and in Quechua it means “courtyard of gold”.
Today tourists can visit what is left of Koricancha and also see part of the Santo Domingo convent. The two are connected as the Spaniards built the convent over the original temple structure.
I wish I had my own picture of the outside to show you, but I didn’t take pictures until we were already inside.
The first thing to notice are the amazing carved granite blocks. The Incas did not use mortar in their masonry. Each block is made to fit the blocks around it perfectly, much like a puzzle. And Incas loved the trapezoidal shape.
During this visit, our guide explained a little about what the Incas supposedly believed about the milky way. There was an illustration hanging on a wall, but we weren’t allowed to photograph it. It depicted what the Incas saw when they looked up at the starry night sky above them. They saw in the constellations, a flowing river with animals drinking from it.
Our tour guide was great about taking our family picture at each attraction.
After we toured Koricancha, we visited Sacsayhuaman. Pronounced almost like “sexy woman”, this was once a great fortress. This boulder is ginormous!
Notice how the boulders are fitted together perfectly. How did they do that?
In Quechua, Saqsaywaman (all of these names can be spelled multiple ways) translates to “marbled falcon” or “satisfied falcon”.
The falcon was believed to have guarded the capital of the Inca empire, which makes sense because Sacsayhuaman sits high above Cusco.
There’s that trapezoid again.
My amateur pictures do not do Sacsayhuaman justice.
When the Spaniards seized Cusco, they started taking apart Sacsayhuaman by removing many of the stones and using them to build up a new Cusco.
The views of the valley from the top were very pretty.