On the top of a hill, alongside the city of Cusco south east Peru, is one of the architectural wonders of the world, Sacsayhuaman, or ‘Sexy Woman’ as it’s often affectionately known. Although the most famous and heavily visited site in the region is the well-known Machupicchu, Sacsayhuaman is perhaps even more impressive in some ways. While Machupicchu is impressive for its amazing location and dramatic scenery, Sacsayhuaman boggles the mind for an entirely different set of reasons.
This large stone complex was said to have been built in the 1400s by the Inca emperor Pachacutec, only a few decades before the arrival of Francisco Pizarro and his men in Peru. This is the mostly widely held belief regarding the origins of the place, although other researchers have cast severe doubts on this proposed history. One thing that everyone agrees on is that after the arrival of the Spanish, a battle at the site inflicted severe damage, destroying a number of towers in the process. The bases of these structures can still be seen, but fortunately the rest of the site is still intact, owing mainly to the extreme size of many of the stones.
But whatever this construction really is, or whenever it was really built, it is true that it does have the appearance of a fortress, with what looks like a series of fortifications rising up one on top of the other. And this is how the place is usually referred to—as a fortress. It is also true that it was used for that purpose by the Inca and later by the Spanish.
However, be that as it may, a number of grave problems present themselves the moment we cast our eyes over this massive structure. The first is indeed its sheer size, or more specifically that of its stones, the smaller of which are about the size of a car, with the larger being comparable to a small house. No quarry or source for these stones has yet been found and therefore with the local area having been very thoroughly mapped out and explored, it is assumed that such a place must have been quite remote. If that was the case then it begs the question of HOW? Not an easy question to answer when one considers that the only means of doing so would have been to have dragged the massive stones over the mountainous terrain with thousands of men.
The next problem is the incredible precision with which one stone has been set against the other, so precise in fact that you would be hard-pressed to slide a razor blade in between them. This fact, combined with the massive size of the megalithic stones makes the architecture very difficult to account for, even if it had been built with modern equipment. But if one considers the fact that the Inca did not have the wheel and that their only available metals, were soft, such as gold, silver and copper, the chances of their having built it falls away to almost to nothing. This is not to say that they did not use the structure, add to it, or that they were not excellent builders in their own right. But looking over the practicalities of such a project from an engineering perspective one is confronted with quite a mystery. Another very intriguing detail if one looks close enough is the fact that there are really no tool marks of any kind, except in areas that were known to have been reconstructed or that were later additions.
In fact, while not any way a conclusive answer, it is known that local legends and histories have the place as pre-existing the Inca and having been built by giants!