Huchuy Qosqo when translated to the native language, Quechua means ‘Little Cusco’ or ‘Small Cusco’. It is an Inca archeological site situated in the north of Cusco at 3600 meters above sea level. This site received its name in the 20th century, it was before known as Kakya Qawani.
During the Inca rule, Huchuy Qosco was an administrative and military center that projects many thought-provoking constructions in its vicinity.
Pedro de Cieza de León, Spanish chronicler, in his Second Chronicle of Peru, claimed that the palaces were built by Viracocha. The eighth Incan emperor. Incan Emperors did not practice imposing taxes on income, they rather controlled the labor and the land.
This let them acquire plenty of royal estates that enriched the wealth and power of their successors who inherited them. These Royal estates also served as an elegant country palace but were mostly used as fortresses to keep off rivals. Hence, the name Huchuy Qosqo, “Small Qosqo”, for a royal estate or government center formed in the Inca capital.
Later during his reign, Viracocha took refuge here when he faced a revolt by the Chanchas. Viracocha handed over the defense of Cusco to his son Pachacuti. Pachacuti in turn repressed the revolt, dethroned his father, and took over the empire. He was the Sapa Inca from 1438 to 1471.
Huchuy Qosqo saw a rapid expansion during the rule of Pacahuti. There were many constructions here between 1420 and 1530. The expansion came to an end when the Spanish conqueror Gonzalo Pizarro plundered Huchuy Qosqo and torched the mummy of Viracocha.
Huchuy Qosqo Today:
The Spanish conquered Huchuy Qosqo in the year 1500 and modified it into a farm. They demolished most of the structures built by Incas such as small reservoirs and built larger ones that are present to date.
Amongst a large number of buildings, some stone, some adobe, is a kallanka (great hall), 40m long. Just underneath the main site of Huchuy Qosqo, are the recently restored storehouses or Qullas as known in Quechua.
Qullas were used to store dried meats and crops such as quinoa, corn, beans, and potatoes. In this two storey site, you will also see the impressive cold storage system known as “conjeras”.
It is an arduous journey to reach Huchuy Qosqo. The Inca site is not accessible by public transport, hence the options are to hike or to jump on horseback. The two prime points of access. They are from Tauca (4-6 hours) or Lamay (3 hours).
The hike from the town of Lamay would take you up to a pass at 4400 meters above sea level, then it is downhill. This route passes through a few more ruins. From Lamay, Huchuy Qosqo is also accessible by a dirt road that would take you to the viewpoint of the site.
The dirt runs along set-of switchbacks. From this viewpoint, the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo is about 150 meters, the dirt road on this stretch passes through a few houses which are inhabited by local farmers.
Although you can do the trek on your own, it is worth hiring a tour guide. There are many operators in Cusco city who offer Huchuy Qosqo tours. Some even offer a three-day hike from Cusco to Huchuy Qosqo and onward to Machu Picchu.
The entrance fee is 22 Peruvian Soles (7 USD) and 10 Peruvian Soles (3 USD) if you hold an ISIC (International Student’s Identity Card).
For Peruvians and residents:
Peruvians and Residents can access the site for free. However, you must carry your national ID (DNI) or Resident’s card (Carnet de extranjeria).