Qenqo Cusco | Information

The Spanish put the name it with the word Quechua K’enko, which means “labyrinth,” perhaps by the labyrinthine underground galleries or by the small channels carved in the rocks in the form of a zigzag.

The Spaniards classified this monument as a theater, probably because it shows a semicircular construction. The purpose of this cyclopean construction, which may well be an altar, a court, or the tomb of an Inca, perhaps of Pachacutec, is ignored. It is presumed to be one of the most critical sanctuaries of the Incas.

Both are places of worship whose nature has not yet implied deciphered, but in which the Incas preference for the stone and the care they had in their carving stand out.

Location (3580 masl)

To 4 and 6 km. (5 min northeast of Cusco) by asphalted road are the archaeological sites of Kenko. There are two places: the Grande, which is at the foot of the road that goes from Sacsayhuamán to Pisac, And Chico, which is 350 meters west of the former, on the slope. This shrine is located on what is now known as Cerro Socorro and covers an area that exceeds 3,500 square meters.

Kenco Grande

The Amphitheater

During the Incas times, this place was a temple for public ceremonies. It is a substantial, semicircular area of 55 meters with 19 incomplete niches distributed along the wall. Some publications stated that arranged places around the theater as seats for worshiping entities. Still, according to recent research, it is very likely that they have been the foundations of a great wall. In front of the free area is a large block of stone of 6 meters in height resting on a solid rectangular pedestal. It may have been a gigantic sculpture that must have had zoomorphic modeling. The lack of precision is due to the traces of destruction caused by the extirpators of idolatries (people responsible for eliminating the icons of the local cult) during the Colony. It also has a rocky ledge decorated with a passage that leads to an underground room, a complex of platforms, spaces, and a system of drainage channels designed to evacuate the water from the place.

The carved stone

Behind this stone rises a rocky promontory in which a ladder carved into the living rock leads to the summit. The slight zigzag channel is born that, starting from a smaller hole, descends and then branches on a branch that follows the slope and another that reaches the underground chamber to the interior of the rocky area.

It could have served to lead the offered chicha or the blood of the sacrifices of flames of some ritual not yet clarified. At the same summit remains carved remains of what could be a condor, whose head did break, and that of a puma. You can also see the remains of a room.

Intihuatana and Astronomical Observatory

On the live rock, paved and polished, protrude two cylinders of short height. It is probably an Intihuatana, which translates as “a place where it does moor to the sun”; that is, it allows to calculate the sun’s position. It does not know how this device worked. It is an enigma until today. But it is presumed to be a kind of astronomical observatory used to measure time, establish the seasons, determine the solstices and equinoxes, and as a worshiper, worship the Sun, the Moon, Venus, and the stars.


It is a Quechua name meaning “temple or place with monkeys.” It does locate 500 meters directly east of Quenqo Grande. It has a carved stone almost two meters high, which some belief to be the shape of a toad. On that rock are still visible reliefs of snakes and monkeys that could have given the name to the place.

The underground chamber

The carving of the rock made here is quite a feat. What carefully carved floors, ceilings, walls, tables, and niches into living rock.

  • It was undoubtedly a place of worship for secret and hidden rites.
  • The area’s builders completed their composition with service rooms on the perimeter.
  • It also has platforms and channels for the evacuation of rainwater.

The zigzag channel

It does locate very close to Intihuatana. The Cuzco historian Víctor Angeles describes it as follows: “part of a small hole, moving in an inclined plane and broken line, then forks, one of the branches led the liquid circulated to the Underground Chamber or Hall of the Sacrifices. ” The juice could be the blood of the sacrificed beings (animals or humans) to the gods.

The mortuary

The mystery of the Andean cult is one of the attractions of Inca culture. About the so-called

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