Temple of the moon in Cusco

15 de May de 2023

Are you tired of visiting the same old places, I recommend that you visit new places and free of charge, for example the temple of the Moon or Temple of Fertility is one of the sacred places of the Incas, building that was made by patterns and in it the Moon was worshiped.

Here you can see the Inca temple, some rock carvings, caves and other constructions that meant a lot, others also say that this could be the temple of fertility very important of the Inca period and today only traces of this temple remain.

As I mentioned before, the temple of the Moon was fundamental, but curiously the construction was made inside a cavern, a sacred and mystical site for the Inca inhabitants, on the outside you can see some stone carvings with different shapes, among them the most striking is a semicircular moon-shaped.

For this reason this point was called "Temple of the Moon" and you will also find figures of the serpent, the condor and the puma, which in the time of the Inca empire were considered as sacred animals.

We return to the cave or cavern where a ceremonial table was built, which shows a very fine carving, and from the upper part the light filters directly to the center of the table, according to the local people, rituals were performed there for women.

This sacred site is part of the Qapac Ñan (network of Inca roads) route that leads to the Sacred Valley of Pisac, near this temple you can also visit other archaeological sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Pucapucara, Qenqo and Tambomachay.

What to see and do in the Temple of the Moon?

We have many things to see among them are:

Zoomorphic sculptures: At the top of this site you will see a series of carvings in the form of sacred zoomorphic figures of birds, felines and snakes, all in high relief, which are mutilated (no head); the figures are represented in this way because they wanted to end idolatry to other gods, since the Spanish were imposing their religion and eliminating the Inca religion.

Describing what we are going to find there is that in the central part there is a hole in ovoid form with some depth, bordered with two sculptures of birds, to the left side is represented the Andean condor and to the right is represented an eagle.

You will notice that next to the condor there is the figure of a puma lying down with its tail upwards, and next to the eagle there is another image of another puma, but this time with its tail downwards. Then you see the image of the serpent as if it were bordering the entire carving, so what these images mean is that they would be related to a prophecy of the meeting of the Southern and Northern hemispheres or one could say the Andean with the Western.

Amaru Mach'ay: This place is known as the Temple of the Moon, it is a natural cavern that later was given this form with details of carving. Inside there are two rooms (chambers), in the first one you can see carvings of animals belonging to the Inca trilogy (condor, puma and snake).

In the second chamber is the circular table that was used for the ceremonies, which is illuminated by a light from the top, the same that illuminates the site at night or when there are full moons, where offerings or ceremonies were made, all for the Mama Killa.

How to get to the Moon Temple?

To get here you can take several options: one and perhaps the most used by visitors is to go on foot, is to go up to San Blas, go down the street Atoj Saykuchij until you reach the main track of the White Christ, then you must continue to the sector of Qenqo, which you can also visit and finally go to the Temple of the Moon through a field of crops.

Another route is to come by public transport El Señor del Huerto or Cristo Blanco which will drop you off in Qenqo (average fare is 2 Peruvian soles, a.5 US dollars) and from there you will have to head to the Temple of the Moon, or you can simply come by cab which will charge you around 10 Peruvian soles approximately (3 US dollars).

What did the Moon mean to the Incas?

The moon in Inca times was fundamental, since it influenced agriculture. According to the Inca writer Garcilaso de la Vega, he asserted that the Incas took into account the time that elapsed from one new moon to another new moon, thus describing the four forms, all influenced by the western model of the seven weeks.

"They counted the months by moons from one new moon to the next new moon, they called this the keel month, like the moon; they gave their names to each month, they counted the half months by the waxing and waning of it, they counted the weeks by the quarters, although they had no name for the days of the week" mentioned Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Recommendations for visiting the Temple of the Moon?

  • If you are going to visit the Temple of the Moon, do it in the mornings until about 5:00 pm.
  • Always wear warm clothes, sun block, hat, as the weather in Cusco changes every time.
  • If you want to take a gift with you, always have cash on hand because credit cards are not yet accepted.
  • Bring water and a good camera.

Admission Hours and Prices

The Temple of the Moon is free admission and you can visit it every day of the week; however, we recommend going early in the morning so you can make the most of the time and take some good pictures.

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