How can you not be intrigued by a place whose name supposedly means flea town?
Our tour guide explains that this moniker doesn’t refer to an infestation, but rather a descriptive of how people—said to be 4000-5000-- lived. It is an urban metropolis of its day—explained to be in a key strategic location for the Wari people who lived here- in between Cusco and Arequipa
The first thing you now notice when you get there is that the archeologists got their first. A dig is in progress, or rather several, that are adding to what is already a very extensive and well-preserved ruin from the pre-Inca Wari culture (+/- 6000 BC).
Knowing that what you are seeing is a work-in-progress adds to the thrill.
That their work has been able to restore so many details of the structures also thrills, as do the more than 30 foot walls you see as you continue your tour of what were the three sectors: religious, agricultural and urban dwellings. This is not one of those archeological sites where you have to press your imagination into overtime to fill in the gaps—so much of this metropolis has been laid bare.
Pikillaqta Re-Purposed by Inca
Between the walls of different sectors you are standing on what became the Inca roads—the famed network that they used to connect the entirety of their kingdom together, and that were regularly traveled by the Inca runner messengers. We had driven about an hour to get here—to think of these roads lined with high walls of rock extending clear to Cusco amazes.
While you never hear of touring Pikillaqta as a top item on anyone’s bucket list like Machu Picchu is, this writer thinks that this ruin combined with other lesser knowns in the Sacred Valley certainly deserve near equal if not equal billing.