on October 21, 2006
Towards the East of Sacsaywaman and included in most of the city tours of Cusco is the small, but rather fascinating Inca ruins of Q’Enqo (also spelt Q’Enko). Q’Enqo is a Quechua word that means ‘labyrinth’, ‘twisted’ or ‘zig-zag’ and is said to be one of the 365 adoratories that should have existed in the Qosqo Valley.The Q’Enqo Inca ruins consist of a small outcrop of limestone riddled with extraordinary symbolic carvings, niches, steps, and channels. As the site is thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices and ceremonies, the channels probably carried away the blood of llamas, and possibly also young virgins, who were also sacrificed by the Incas. I found it very strange to hear that in Incan times, to be chosen as a human sacrifice to the Gods was seen as the biggest honour, and such virgins were often treated almost as a God themselves. If anyone were to cause harm to these virgins then as a punishment whole villages could be killed off in retaliation, which is what some historians say could have happened to the people of Machu Picchu.Etchings of puma, llama, and condors can still be seen to this day at the top of the rock on the flat surface that was used for the ceremonies. Below are a series of caves, niches and tunnels, with altars cut deep into the stone where it is thought the mummies of lesser nobility were once kept.Towards the site’s northeast side, there are the remains of a fountain that contained abundant good water, showing again the Inca’s amazing talent of understanding geology and the flow of water. Sadly today though the fountain is dry and past it's former glory due to the water being channelled away from the fountain towards Cusco’s Cusqena Beer Brewery. Obviously for Peruvians, this amber nectar is much more important than the countries history and past glory!Only 4km from Cusco, it makes for an interesting trip, especially if taking in the other Inca ruins in the area. Compared to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman just down the road, they pale in significance and I probably wouldn’t have visited this individually, but as most tour companies include this in the daily tour of Cusco then you can visit both at the same time. Tours of Cusco cost between $6-10 for a half-day trip. Entrance is through the ‘Boleto Turistico’ ticket, which costs $25 and gives you entry to 15 other attractions around the city of Cusco. Due to the altitude of Q’Enqo, at 3600m a.s.l it may be best to wait a day or two after arrival in to Cusco before visiting to enjoy the ruins and scenery to its maximum.
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