Choquequirao – Cradle of Gold

Related Articles

Related Articles

Choquequirao, meaning “Cradle of Gold” in Quechua is an archaeological site in the Vilcabamba mountain range, overlooking the Apurimac River in Southern Peru.

Choquequirao was built by the Inca sometime in the 15th – 16th century and covers an area of over 4447 acres at an elevation of 3050 metres. The Inca was a large pre-Columbian Empire that arose in the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 13th century that incorporated a large portion of western South America.

The cities founding has been credited to Topa Yupanqui, the tenth Sapa Inca (AD 1471–93), fifth of the Hanan dynasty and the son of Pachacuti who founded Machu Pucchu. Some scholars argue that as Choquequirao was built around the same time as Machu Picchu, the commissioning of its construction may be attributed to Pachacuti and simply completed by Topa Yupanqui.

 

Choquequirao – Image Credit : Danielle Pereira

Several sites in the region that includes Machu Picchu, Sayhuite, Chachabamba, Choquesuyus and Guamanmarca all share similar architecture styles and construction techniques.

The site is centred around two main plazas on the crest of a mountain ridge and includes temples, high-status dwellings, fountains, bath systems and common dwellings some distance away. The plazas were levelled artificially and the surrounding hillsides were terraced to allow cultivation and small residential areas.

Choquequirao – Image Credit : Danielle Pereira

Choquequirao also contains several religious structures, monuments and a large pyramid-shaped usnu. The site has alignments with the June and December solstices suggesting a strong solar focus and year-round ceremonial activities.

With the collapse of the Inca Empire after the Spanish conquest in the mid-1500s, Choquequirao would remain a stronghold of the Neo-Inca established in AD 1537 at Vilcabamba by Manco Inca Yupanqui but would be abandoned sometime after the death of the last Inca ruler, Túpac Amaru in AD 1572.

Choquequirao – Image Credit : Danielle Pereira

Although Choquequirao was known to the present-day indigenous and mestizo communities, the first European visitor was the Spanish explorer Juan Arias Díaz in 1710.

In 1908, Hiram Bingham (an explorer who was controversially credited with re-discovering Machu Picchu) was told about Choquequirao by local officials who had visited the site in search of gold.

Bingham decided to visit Choquequirao in 1909 to determine if it was Vilcapampa, but decided it was merely a frontier fortress and continued his search for Vilcapampa. Choquequirao would remain relatively forgotten until it was excavated by archaeologists in the 1970’s who have systematically excavated around 30–40% of the cities remains.

Header Image – Choquequirao – Image Credit : McGhiever

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Photos of Stolen Mosaic Reveals Oldest Representation of Roman Hydraulic Wheel

Researchers from the University of Warsaw have determined that a mosaic stolen from Apamea in present-day Syria is the oldest representation of a Roman hydraulic water wheel.

Study Reveals True Origin of Oldest Evidence of Animals

Two teams of scientists have resolved a longstanding controversy surrounding the origins of complex life on Earth.

The Microbiome of Da Vinci’s Drawings

The work of Leonardo Da Vinci is an invaluable heritage of the 15th century. From engineering to anatomy, the master paved the way for many scientific disciplines.

The Private Estates of the Royal Family

The private estates of the Royal Family are the privately owned assets, not to be confused with the Crown Estates which belong to the British monarch as a corporation sole or "the sovereign's public estate".

Field Geology at Mars’ Equator Points to Ancient Megaflood

Floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars' equator around 4 billion years ago - a finding that hints at the possibility that life may have existed there, according to data collected by NASA's Curiosity rover and analyzed in joint project by scientists from Jackson State University, Cornell University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Hawaii.

Middle Stone Age Populations Repeatedly Occupied West African Coast

Although coastlines have widely been proposed as potential corridors of past migration, the occupation of Africa's tropical coasts during the Stone Age is poorly known, particularly in contrast to the temperate coasts of northern and southern Africa.

Naqa – The Meroitic City

Naqa, also called Naga'a, and presently referred to as the El-Moswarat Andel-Naqa'a Archaeological Area was one of the ancient cities of the Nubian Kingdom of Kush, located on the east-bank of the River Nile in Western Butan (historically called the Island of Meroë) in Sudan.

Prehistoric Shark Hid its Largest Teeth

Some, if not all, early sharks that lived 300 to 400 million years ago not only dropped their lower jaws downward but rotated them outwards when opening their mouths.

Popular stories

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.