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Choquequirao, last refuge of the Incas

Choquequirao, also known as the “Cradle of Gold,” is a remote archaeological site located in the Peruvian Andes. The site is believed to have been the last refuge of the Incas during the Spanish conquest of the 16th century.

The Incas were a powerful civilization that emerged in the Andean region of South America in the 15th century. They built an extensive empire that spanned across present-day Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina. The Incas were known for their advanced engineering skills, including the construction of complex terrace systems and impressive roads and bridges.

A short history of the site

Choquequirao was built during the height of the Inca Empire, and was likely a royal estate or religious center. The site is situated on a mountain peak overlooking the Apurímac River, and is surrounded by terraced gardens and plazas. It is believed to have been connected to the Inca capital of Cusco by a network of roads. Choquequirao was likely used as a strategic retreat for the Inca elite during times of conflict.

The site was discovered in the 19th century, but it was not until the 20th century that serious excavations began. Today, Choquequirao is considered one of the most important Inca sites in the world. It is a popular destination for hikers and archaeologists alike.

The site is considered as the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, another famous Incan citadel. Choquequirao is not as well-known or visited as Machu Picchu, but it offers a unique and authentic Inca experience. The site is located in a remote area and is only accessible by foot. Thus, it is an ideal destination for those looking to escape the crowds and experience the natural beauty of the Peruvian Andes.


The archaeological complex of Choquequirao

One of the most impressive features of Choquequirao is the series of terraces that surround the site. These terraces were built using advanced engineering techniques, and were used for agricultural purposes. They allowed the Incas to cultivate crops in the challenging Andean terrain, and provided a reliable food source for the inhabitants of the site. The terraces also served as a form of water management, capturing and directing water from the surrounding mountains to the site.

See Also: Short Inca Trail

Another fascinating aspect of Choquequirao is the architecture of the buildings. The site is home to a number of impressive structures, including the main plaza, religious temples, and residential buildings. The walls of these buildings were constructed using a technique known as “ashlar,” in which large stones were cut and fitted together with precision. This technique allowed the Incas to create structures that were both strong and visually striking.


Why is Choquequirao not as famous as Machu Picchu?

Despite the impressive nature of the site, Choquequirao remains relatively unknown compared to other Inca sites such as Machu Picchu. This is partly due to its remote location, which is only accessible by foot. Also, the archaeological site of Choquequirao has not been fully excavated. However, in recent years, the Peruvian government has been working to promote the site. Recently, it has become a popular destination for hikers and archaeologists alike.

One of the main challenges of visiting Choquequirao is the trek to get there. The site is located in the Vilcabamba mountain range. The trail to Choquequirao is considered to be one of the most challenging in Peru. However, for those who are willing to make the journey, the rewards are well worth it. The trek offers breathtaking views of the Andean landscape and the opportunity to experience a piece of history that has been hidden for centuries.

In conclusion, Choquequirao is an incredible site that offers a unique insight into the history of the Inca Empire. The site is a testament to the advanced engineering and architectural skills of the Incas, and serves as a reminder of the resilience and ingenuity of this ancient civilization. With its remote location and challenging trek, Choquequirao is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are willing to make the journey, the rewards are truly unforgettable.