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Choquequirao known as 'the other Machu Picchu'

By Catholic Online
September 22nd, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In southern Peru, Choquequirao, which translates to "Cradle of Gold," is referred to by many as the other "Machu Piccu."  Choquequirao is found a long a path that is preferred by serious hikers who enjoy the untamed nature of the trails. The area's inaccessibility has kept most potential tourists away from this ruined Inca city, leaving a pristine landscape to be enjoyed by those who dare to enter.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Similar in structure and architecture to Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is filled with ruined buildings and terraces that sit below a flattened hilltop that was leveled several hundred years ago and ringed with stones to create a platform.

Built during the reign of King Pachacuti Inca Yupangui, Choquequirao is believed to be the last city that the Sons of the Sun took refuge in when fleeing Cusco in the 16th century.

Choquequirao is tucked into the Salkantay Mountain Range in the Cusco region above the valley of Rio Apurimac. Only a third of Choquequirao has been excavated. The city was a once vital link between the Amazon Jungle and the city of Cusco.

What has been uncovered to date follows traditional Inca construction, which is a temple with administrative buildings positioned directly around a central square. The living quarters of the more common people were spread further out.

U.S. explorer Gary Ziegler has said that the number of niches and double jamb doorways in Choquequirao construction proves that the lost city was once held in high status. The first excavations in the area didn't begin until the 1970s.

A set of terraces in Choquequirao incorporate figures of llamas or alpacas. The shapes of the animals have been set into the large terraces using carefully carved white rock.

The Peruvian government has proposed that a cable car be installed to bring tourists to the region. Until then, visitors must endure a rough two-day hike from Cusco that is only recommended for experienced climbers.

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