Friday, October 5, 2012

Urco - an archeological Inca treasure close to home

On a beautiful sunny morning we set out for Urco - an archeological dig close to Calca, kind of just on the outskirts of Calca, and if one wanted to you could walk there in about 40 mins I think. We did catch a tuck-tuck though, Valerio and I, which got us to the start of the walk much faster and with a goodly larger amount of energy to spend on walking up the hill and around the ruins and later down all the stairs by the terasses.
There are some many important points to remember when thinking about the philosophy and history of this period in time. Fx there were always 4 Incas ruling at the same time - some of them for longer, some for shorter. It seems that the one who ruled here at the place in Urco was not a very successful ruler or administrator so his time was short. Never the less he was there - and there is a beautiful round building which was used for storing food perhaps or used for traveling nobility or .... it is not know precisely.

Standing inside the building looking out is a peaceful feeling. There is no roof to the building, I do not remember from my conversation with Valerio if it is likely that there was a roof - the Incas didn't have roofs on many of their holy places, it disturbed the connection with the upper world - the stars, the moon, the sun - close and undisturbed connection was wanted, needed and appreciated.

 Behind the building there is a small collection of buildings for habitation, it is of course hard to know exactly how and for whom these buildings were built, and there are many more to unearth as time goes by. The Urco site is situated on one of the line running out from Cusco, and many holy places are situated on each line. One particular family takes care of each line.
The large rock has been carefully chiseled - there is an indentation in the rock where the water from the water system would have moved through and and at the spout is a snake's head. The snake is the animal which signifies the under world, Ukhu in all its wisdom - and we all go there, it is not hell, it is just Ukhu Patcha which is a parallel universe for the dead, and so we are not gone, we are still there, just diferently. We live in Kay Patcha and above us is .... and I will have to look it up when I get back to Calca - I know it starts with an Hak.... but the rest is .... foggy and not quite retrievable at this moment in time.
 The water came/comes from springs and lagoons high on the mountain tops. There is a story that the Inca promised his daughter to the man who would be able to first and fastest build a water line from the mountain to Urco - it did happen, someone did it, however, the daugther was not agreeable - she was in love with a lowly peasant and so the two of them ran away. When they reached the mountain top the Apu (mountain) took pity on them, for they would have to flee and run all their lives. He turned them into stone and when you get to the top of the mountain you can see two rocks facing each other, the princess and the peasant, looking at each all for all eternaty, together!
 When we were done at the sacred place we walked back through the little village, past the big house, which used to belong to the big landowner before the landreforms where the peasants were given back their land to farm for themselves. The landowner of course does not live there anymore and so the house is a communal house instead. Suprisingly (to me) behind the big house when looking over the stone fence ...... one beholds the most amazing terasses - built by the workers enlisted by the Incas, and there were many layers. We walked down over the terasses making use of all the staircases that were built into this ingenious system of growing food and irrigating it.
At the bottom, looking up, the layers are visible, I would say each wall is twice my height - and perhaps a bit more. An enormous amount of  rocks and earth would have had to be moved. When looking up at the mountain, there is something which looks like the canal which was used to send the water down the mountain and into the watering system. It is fascinating to think about how it was all done, execution, amount of human energy and everything else. Even if it is said that the Incas made deals with the heads of communities who then sent workers off to help in return for probably a healthy amount of exchange goods or whatever else was needed in the community. 

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