Inca Ruins with a Unique Temple

Raqchi is an archaeological site of the Incas in Peru. It is unique because of the Temple of Wiracocha, whose central wall is still standing. The ruins are located at 3,480 meters above sea level. These Inca remains are relatively unknown, but very worthwhile. Which you can easily visit. These are my tips for your visit to Raqchi.

If you are travelling through Peru, Raqchi is probably not on your wish list. But there is a reasonable chance that you will visit this ancient Inca city. I'll explain how to do that in this article. I also explain how you can best organise this excursion. So that you get the best out of your visit.

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The Characteristic Inca Construction

Upon arrival, you will recognize various typical features of the Incas. What you can see in the characteristic Inca walls. Stones are processed in such a way that they fit together perfectly. This construction was particularly ingenious, although it must have been a heathen job. Aqueducts and underground tombs have also been found.

The characteristic construction of the walls of the temple.

Most buildings in Raqchi date from between 1450 and 1532. Although there is evidence that the first buildings in this area date back to 200 BC. These are built in the lesser-known Qaluyu-Marcavalle culture. Numerous Inca and pre-Inca artefacts from multiple civilizations have been found in and around Raqchi. Think of the Wari (700-100 AD), but also the Collao and the Inca-Collao (1100-1450).

Temple of Wiracocha

The Temple of Wiracocha.

The Wiracocha Temple is the most notable structure in Raqchi. You can still see the remarkably high walls. The walls are 14 meters high. Unfortunately, the roof of the temple has disappeared. According to connoisseurs, it is the highest-built temple that the Incas built, with the roof, in particular, being special. According to archaeologists, this temple was built during the reign of Tawantinsuyu. This means that this is after the year 1450, although not quite when exactly. What is special is that a brick wall has been placed on top of the characteristic Inca walls. It is also not entirely clear how and why.

Hundreds of Qolqas, or Storage Rooms

One of the many storage rooms in Raqchi. ©Corno van den Berg

Upon entering you first see qolqas, these were the remarkably round storage areas of the Incas. You will see dozens of them in large fields around you. All kinds of goods were stored here, including foodstuffs and drinks. Scientists are trying to find out more and more about the life of the Incas.

San Pedro de Cacha Church

To the left of the ruins, you will see a small village. People still live here today. The most special is the church: San Pedro de Cacha. This one is very photogenic, especially when locals walk by. I sat here for ten minutes and also viewed the inside of the church. The church is made of stones and clay from the area, which gives it its own character.

The beautiful church of San Pedro de Cacha. ©Corno van den Berg

Visit Raqchi

The archaeological site is located in the Cusco region, 110 kilometres from the ancient capital of the Incas: Cusco. It is located near the place of the same name in Raqch'i in the high mountains of Peru. You can visit Raqchi on your own, but most tourists do so on their journey from Puno (and Lake Titicaca) to Cusco. Or you can do the route the other way around. You can also travel by night bus, but the day trip between the two cities by bus is fun. Stops are made at various places along the way, including at Raqchi.

Read my article on Cusco

Day Tours

Various tours are offered from the city of Cusco. However, it is a long journey, think 2.5 to 3 hours one way. Most people visit the remains on their trip to Cusco. The stop at Raqchi takes about an hour, maybe a little longer. The guide will take you to the main attractions. I went on my own because it gives me a better feeling about a place. You can walk around freely (almost) everywhere, so you can view it as well.

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