Choquequirao is a remote Inca site in the Sacred Valley in southern Peru, less traveled but similar in structure and architecture to Machu Picchu. Ruins including temples, residences, and terraces inlaid with rock art.
Choquequirao is an Inca site located on the Wilkapampa mountain range in the La Convención Province in the northwestern part of the Cusco region. A rich ecosystem in the high jungle, because of its very diverse fauna and flora species First discovered in 1710 it wasn’t until 250 years later in 1970 excavations began. Often called the keeper of many secrets, this monumental site built by the Inca’s holds many secrets as archeologists have barely scratched the surface of what lays hidden beneath the earth.
The history of Choquequirao is widely speculated and there are only theories about the purpose of the incredible ruins. The first theory is that the city was built as a royal estate by Tupa Inca, the 15th-century ruler of the Inca Empire who conquered the Chachapoyas. It is thought Tupa Inca intended to build a city similar in location and design to Machu Picchu, and because several important features appear to be of Chachapoya design Tupa Inca could have been responsible for the construction. Others theorize that Choquequirao’ construction was commissioned by Tupa Inca’s father Pachacuti around the same time as Machu Picchu because its location was considered to be part of Pachacuti’s estate.
All experts do agree that Choquequirao was most likely an entrance checkpoint to Vilcabamba, one of the most important valleys in the perimeter and served as an administrative hub serving political, social, and economic functions, such as the cultivation and distribution of coca. The city also played an important role linking the Amazon Jungle and the city of Cusco and may have provided a seasonal pilgrimage destination for regional state-sponsored ceremonial events.
Similar to Machu Picchu in architectural design and layout, Choquequirao has two plazas that host the main structures such as temples, elite residences, and fountain and bath systems. The great precision and attention to detail in the construction of Choquequirao further reveals the skill of Inca engineers. Houses built with towering double doors, water fountains made with large rocks to prolong erosion and flat slabs were created under windows in order to store food.
An interesting feature of Choquequirao is the unique art decorated into the cities terraces. White rocks embedded in the shape of llamas or alpacas thought to pay tribute to the animals that were essential in Inca life in the transportation of food and supplies. Despite the facts not all on Choquequirao has been excavated the well-preserved and well-restored buildings make Choquequirao a beautiful place to explore.