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FROM URCOS TO RACCHI

CIRCUITS


Quiquijana
This village is situated at 24 kilometer far from Urcos. Its church is being restored. The origin of Quiquijana, with its especial layout, dates from the second half of the XVI century when the viceroy Francisco de Toledo started his politics of reductions.
 
 
Circuits Introduction
Maras
Moray
Pichingoto
From Cusco
to Urcos
From Urcos
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Urcos - Puno
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The colonial church
As well as the churches of Checacupe and Tinta, the church of Quiquijana has one of its sides facing the square of the town. It has two entrances: one of them faces the square and the other is the fašade. The mural painting in Quiquijana represents a decorative detail, that is, it is used to frame some canvases and decorate some vaulted niches. The murals of the indian painter Salvador Sandoval are very important, they are from the second half of the XVII century. On the walls of the Prebistery there are two series of paintings showing a very unsual topic in the academy of Cusco: the life of the prodigal son and the story of Lazaro. According to art historians like Mesa and Gilbert, he was said to have been the author of some other paintings such as the painting of Christ resuscitated, the Inmaculate Conception and San Juan Bautista.


Checacupe (3446 m.a.s.l.)
The temple of Checacupe will offer the nicest surprise to the visitor. By the quality of its Mudejar coffered ceiling, it is only compared to the church of Andahuyalillas. The historian Pablo Macera emphasizes about the big beam of the presbitery with an image of the Virgin of a middle age style with roman and Byzantine details. He states that this virgin "may be the oldest painting in Cusco." Thus, as exceptional as this painting we find the mural with Santiago apostle in the battle of Clavijo found in the choir. In that same place there are the murals with the martyrs of San Lorenzo and San Sebastian. The figures are well designed and the human body is delineated perfectly. The first one shows the martyr over the grill and around him many soldiers and other characters. In the second one, San Sebastian is tied to a tree and killed by archers of Mauritania.


Tinta
People from Tinta is very proud of this place as it was the place where the rebelion of Tupac Amary started. On November 4th in 1780, the indian cacique got the corregidor Antonio de Arriaga as a prisoner near the town. The corregidor was killed in Tungasuca some days later.
In that place the rebel established his main quarters.


The most important attractions are:

The church of Tinta
It still has a closed atrium with an entrance arch and two chapels reposing on the corners. These elements separated the church from the civil square. Inside the church we find three canvases. The canvas of San Juan Bautista is ascribed to the famous Marcos de Rivera who introduced the Zurbaranism to the painting of Cusco at the end of the XVII century. He was also the author of the canvases decorating the presbitery: The Bautista en el Desierto (The Baptist in the Desert), La Degollacion (The Beheading), El Entierro del Santo (The bury of the Saint) and the Apoteosis (Apothesis). Thus, the series of the life of Christ made by Francisco Serrano is also important.


The House of the Corregidor
It is one of the fewest colonial constructions standing in the square of Tinta. This big house occupies almost one complete side of the square. The writer from Cusco Clorinda Matto de Turner lived here with her husband Jose Turner. They donated the ornamental fountain of the square, replacing the column of the torture of the colony. Clorinda Matto inspired the atmosphere of her most famous novel , Aves sin nido ( Birds without nest) here on Tinta.


RACCHI

The town of Racchi
A little further, three kilometers by the road and two kilometers by a horseshoe road, we find San Pedro de Cacha: a town whose origin dates from the time of the viceroy Francisco de Toledo.
Currently, Racchis is one of the most important communities in the production of handicraft, and it is dedicated to the production of potatoes, wheat, peas and corn. They also have sheep, cows and auquenidos from high areas.
In the town of Racchi there is a chapel from the XIX century which has a very peculiar popular architecture.


Archaeological Complex of Racchi (3400 m.a.s.l.)
The Archaeological complex of Racchi is, without question, one of the most important places in Cusco. The archaeological place includes a big group of constructions among which we find the temple, the colcas, the quarters or rooms, the Inca baths, the Usno, the wall of four kilometers surrounding most part of the Inca remains and the current community. This architecture represents the importance of Racchi for the inca militar expansion towards the Titicaca Lake.


Location and characteristics
The archaeological complex of Racchi is located at about 100 kilometers far from Cusco. 20 kilometers to the northeast of the main market in Sicuani. To have a more comfortable visit, we recommend you to spend the night in the city. Its twenty acres shelter the imposing temple of Huiracocha and most of the colcas or circular storages. It is situated near the Vilcanota river. It occupies a field protected by small hills of volcano origin, the result of an ancient eruption of the Quinsachata volcano.


Hypothesis of this archaeological site
Most of the archaeologists agree to affirm that the especial construction dominates the lanscape of Ricchi. It was the temple to Huiracocha mentioned in the chronicles. However, Manuel Ballesteros, because of some passages of Pedro Cieza de Leon and the result of excavations made by the Spanish Mission, considered that the worship to Huiracocha was actually a small construction, today dissapeared, and that was probably situated next to the Inca baths. According to him, the large shed should have been a huge workshop to produce weavings. The rooms, the houses of the weavers and the colcas would have been storages to keep wool and maybe handicraft. By a general rule and in contrast to this hypothesis, the Incas had a good architecture designed for religious purposes ( like in the case of the Koricancha or the Acllahuasi in Cusco) or to be the houses of the governors. Currently, most of the archaeologist affirm that the archaeological complex of Racchi had double purposes: ceremonial and militar or artesanal.


The temple to Huiracocha
According to some chroniclers, the God Huiracocha was attacked by indian Canas in this place. As a punishment, the divinity made it rained not water but fire "leaving, as Pedro Cieza de Leon said, destroyed and consumed stones." However, there are some opossitions about the Inca who ordered to build this monumental work. Cieza states that Pachacutec ordered to build this "big houses" in Cacha, but Garcilazo thinks it was done by Huiracocha to whom the God of the same name had appeared in many opportunities.


The most important Inca Temple
The temple is an unique Inca construction in the inca architecture. It is a large rectangular shed of 92 meters long and 25 meters wide with an enormous central wall of almost twelve meters high. The base of the wall, up to three meters high, was first made with finely carved stone, then it was made of adobe. The temple had connection doors with embrasures of discharge over them and held a ceiling of two waters that was also lying on twelve cilindric columns at both sides, as well as in the lateral walls. Only one out of the twenty two columns is still preserved. We have only the foundations of the lateral walls which are now visible thanks to the work of excavations done by the Spanish Mission at the end of the seventies.


Audacious architecture
A frequent question of the visitors is how it was possible that adobe walls as high as the current buildings of four floors could resist more that five centuries in an area highly seismic. The studies of the Spanish Mission leaded by Manuel Ballesteros Gaibrois revealed things about it. They have discovered that they used an especial building tecnique based on "adobones" of one and a half meter long and forty centimeters wide. Normally they were made by planking them but in this case, they have rolls shape. The adobones are displayed in crossed lines, one is following the direction of the wall and the other is perpendicular to it.


The statue
Many centuries after Cieza visited Racchi, while they performed excavations in Cusco, they found a stone head and the representation of a stone body. Manuel Ballesteros and other specialists affirm, with strong reasons, that they are the remains of a statute of Huiracocha moved to Cusco one day and then destroyed and buried as part of a politic of extirpation of idolatries. The head is currently exhibited in the Museo de America (Museum of America) in Madrid and the body is in the Museo Inca (Inca Museum) in Cusco.


The rooms
Another interesting area is the area of the rooms or quarters by their quality of architecture. It includes twenty two houses with excellent walls, numerous trapezoid vaulted niches and an especial position. Twelve of these houses are lined up by pairs along 250 meters. They are surrounding a series of almost square patios. One side of these patios, the one that is facing the esplanade known as Pucllanapamoa (in Quechua "hills to play") is free, in the other three sides there are six rooms, two in each side.


The colcas
They are found next to the rooms but separated by small rectangular farms. They impress by the quantity as they are about 120 and 200 small farms according to different researches. They are also amazing by their position in double lines following the same axis of the temple. They are circular constructions. Some of these colcas have been rebuilt by the different archaeological expeditions but preserving their original position so their appearance is quite natural. The complex, despite of being not well preserved, is really astonishing by itself.

A walk by the lake is something you can not miss. Among the diverse islands the most important are: Uros, Taquile, Amantani and Suasi. Uros is the nearest Puno at just 4 km or 20 minutes by motor boat. It is said that its inhabitants came from one of the most ancient towns in America. Their houses, made of totora, are over the lake. In Taquile, at 35 km far from Puno, you should go up by tenths of steps to get to the town where kind and welcoming people will receive you. There, observe the excellent techniques of weaving. Very near we find Amantani, of great ethnic and cultural value, where you will enjoy beautiful landscapes. If you have time visit Suasi: a small island where there is a hotel working exclusively with solar energy. Take advantage of the lack of electricity so you admire the wonderful sky full the stars at night.


The festival of Racchi
Every year, the third sunday of June, the festival of folkloric dances takes place in the community of Racchi, famous for its pottery tradition. It has been performed since the seventies. Its main purpose is to be a show to promote the folkclor in the region kept mainly by the peasant communities. In the festival, there are some religious and educational institutes from Canchis and neighbouring provinces participating.


The Inca bath and the usno
Closer to the skirts of the rocky hills, separated by an artificial laggon, we find the Inca baths and the usno. The Inca baths have two puddles: the longest receives water from an underground canal by two mouths or entrances, the shortest receives water by only one mouth. A few steps far from there, we observe something that looks like an usno or a place to drink. This place includes the stone with a hole and the achitectonical place surrounding it.


Useful information
The buses to Urcos and Sicuani have a bus stop in the city of Cusco in the Cultura Avenue at the level of the Regional Hospital on block 16th. In both buses the service is very frequent.
Another possibility are the local vans going from Urcos to Quiquijana and joining Combapata-Tinta-San Pedro and Sicuani. You can visit all these places in one day but the time is not enough to enjoy as much as they deserve. It is better to spend the night in Sicuani. Remember that the churches of small villages only open their doors at the time of their masses. If you want to visit any of them at a different time you should ask the local people for the guardian who may show you the church if receiving a tip in exchange. Between Urcos and Sicuani there are high quaility restaurants, for this reason it is better to take some snacks. You may buy some food or drinks in the stores of the towns.



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